Authorities were on the lookout Wednesday for two con artists who swindled another woman out of $5,000 at a North County strip mall.

The thieves, who appeared to be in their mid-40s, approached the 72-year- old victim at a Stater Bros. supermarket on Vista Way in Oceanside late Tuesday morning and told her they had found a purse containing $100,000, police Lt. Leonard Mata said.

They offered the woman $25,000 if she could provide one-fifth of that amount to cover the taxes on their supposed windfall, according to Mata. The victim accepted the offer, retrieved the money and handed it over to the strangers, he said.

The crooks then left, telling the woman they would return after they had "scanned'' her cash. She waited, but the pair never returned, the lieutenant said.

The victim was only able to provide vague descriptions of the swindlers, telling detectives one was short and heavyset, the other thin.