THIEVES are taking advantage of distracted parents to whisk bags and purses from under customers' noses as they cruise the aisles at Toys 'R' Us stores. A number of customers have been robbed this year while shopping in the territory's largest toy store chain. Toys 'R' Us executive secretary Peggy Lee said staff at the company's four Hong Kong outlets had been briefed to be 'extra vigilant', but denied the thefts posed a major problem. The Sunday Morning Post has learned that a Japanese woman shopper was robbed of her handbag containing $50,000 at the Causeway Bay store earlier this year. About one week ago, thieves struck again at the same store - this time targeting two women as they shopped for a present for a friend's baby. A handbag belonging to one of the shoppers was snatched as the pair strolled the aisles in search of a gift. The bag was later found discarded in the store's washrooms, with the money missing. Valuables and personal possessions in the bag were strewn in the cubicles. 'We were just walking down the aisles looking for a suitable present for our friend,' said one woman, who asked not to be named. 'My friend had her bag in the trolley but when we stopped to look at some presents, we looked back in the trolley and the bag had disappeared. 'You don't expect that kind of thing to happen in a children's store - but I suppose thieves are everywhere.' The company has warned staff to be on the lookout for bag-snatchers. Ms Lee said Toys 'R' Us - which has shops in Causeway Bay, Sha Tin, Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan - did not believe the store was being singled out because it was a toy store. An investigation had been launched into the spate of thefts, she said. 'This is something that can happen in any store in Hong Kong, it is not unique to Toys 'R' Us,' Ms Lee said. 'If the women involved want to contact the company we will do all we can to explain our position.'