'Hugs for wallets:' Prosecutors say women used seemingly kind gesture to rip people off on NYE

MILWAUKEE -- Two women who asked for a warm embrace early on New Year's Eve were arrested for it. According to prosecutors, they used their hugs to rip people off.

It seems like a nice gesture -- a warm hug on a cold winter night, but according to prosecutors, Deloise Lipsey and Junise Thompkins tried to get close to people for all the wrong reasons. According to a criminal complaint, the women first approached a man just after midnight on Dec. 31 near Wells and Broadway in Milwaukee.

Prosecutors said Lipsey asked the man for "a birthday hug," and he took her up on it. They began "hugging and dancing," and when they parted ways, the man realized his wallet had been stolen.

"You know, during the holiday season, everybody's happy, so you're like 'oh a hug,' but just to get robbed -- it's crazy," said Asia Jackson.

A similar scenario unfolded at their next stop near the bars on Water Street -- where prosecutors said a man's wallet was stolen after the women "hugged" and "danced on him."

"I could see the enticement there, but you have to be careful nowadays," said James Jackson.

The victims quickly reported the crimes to police, and in less than an hour, the women were stopped downtown. Investigators said police found credit cards, driver's licenses and debit cards belonging to the victims.

"If they're out here giving out hugs for wallets, let's get them off the streets," said Jackson.

Both women have been charged with two counts of theft. Both made their initial appearances in court on Jan. 4. Cash bond was set at $2,500 each, and preliminary hearings were scheduled for Jan. 18.