Police are urging shoppers to be on their guard following a couple of distraction thefts, where elderly shoppers have been targeted by thieves in public car parks.
The first incident happened in Morrisons car park in Letchworth, where an elderly man returned to his car having used his card and pin number to pay for shopping in the store.
As he returned to his vehicle a man approached him and said he had something on the back of his jacket. The man then offered to help the elderly victim clean the jacket and removed it from him. At this point another man then approached the victim and started asking about car parking. The first man then returned the jacket and when the victim got home, he realised that his wallet had been removed from the pocket. His bank card had been used in the town.
The second offence occurred in Hitchin at the end of May. An elderly lady had been shopping in Sainsburys in Hitchin using her card and pin number. As she was returning to her car in the car park, a man approached her and said he had seen a boy on a bike ride into the back of her car and advised her to check for damage. The lady put her bags in the car and went to the rear of her car to look. When she arrived home, she realised her purse and her iPhone were missing from the bags. Money had been withdrawn from her account.
In both instances the offender was described as a white man aged around 40 years old, around 5’ 10” tall, with short grey hair on his head and face and grey clothing. He spoke with a European accent.
PC Emma Carter who is investigating the incidents said: “We want people to be on their guard and take extra care of their wallets and purses when they are out shopping. Unfortunately, these kinds of thefts often take place in car parks, as shoppers are easy to distract, and the fake scenarios used are easily believable.
“If anyone thinks they may have been approached in a similar way or has any information with could help our investigation, please contact me as soon as possible.”
PC Carter can be contacted via email Emma Carter.
You can also report information online, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat or call the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference 41/42106/22.
Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at Crimestoppers (opens in window).