Pair caught on camera stealing purses off chairs in restaurants on UES and UWS

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police on the Upper East Side are searching for a duo in a pattern of purse thefts at restaurants.

The video the 19th precinct posted on Twitter shows two very brazen crooks.

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Surveillance video

With practiced nonchalance, one of them gently slides a woman's purse off the back of her chair, as his partner plays the lookout.

Then, the bag goes under their table into the hands of the partner. And just like that, it's gone.

"Obviously these people didn't know we have cameras. They are highly recognizable," said Paolo Della Puppa, restaurant owner. "I mean, how stupid can you be?"

Della Puppa says those cameras captured every angle of the suspects. One of them is heavily tattooed and well-practiced.

These guys picked the table to strike, at the height of the dinner rush about 10 nights ago on the Upper East Side.

In a small, and at the time, very crowded restaurant, not unlike at least four other spots cops say they've hit since December.

Police are investigating this as a pattern, four locations on the Upper East Side, one on the Upper West Side.

In all cases, they head to crowded cafes and target people's purses innocently hanging on the backs of chairs.

It wasn't until the thieves hit the place on 73rd and Madison that police put it all together.

Tuesday night they tweeted the video, in hopes someone recognizes them.

Della Puppa's glad his cameras were working.

"It's ultimately stupid for the people who do that because they will eventually get caught," Della Puppa said.
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