Bel Air student Debbie Keiser said the message she will give her Harford Community College speech class about purse snatchings will be blunt: "Don't be as stupid as I was."
Miss Keiser, 20, of the 1300 block of London Court in Amyclae Estates said she frequently left her purse in her car, especially when she parked in front of her house.
She won't do that anymore, she said.
Her car window was smashed between 12:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. July 22, and her purse, identification cards, checkbook and ATM card were taken.
"I want others to know what happened to me, so it won't happen to them," she said.
Miss Keiser said she was unaware of the recent rash of purse snatchings in Harford.
Deputy 1st Class Dan Galbraith of the Harford County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention unit said his unit has handled more than 60 purse thefts since January. In 1994, there were 30 purse snatchings, he said.
"They look for purses in a car, and it doesn't matter if the car is locked," the deputy said. He said the problem is spread throughout the county.
For her speech on purse snatching, Miss Keiser called the deputy last week for more information.
She learned that many purse snatchings occur in shopping centers or when women leave purses in plain view in their cars or at work.
Thieves roam grocery stores and search for purses left in shopping carts. When the shopper turns away, the thief snatches the purse.