Shoppers Warned After Distraction Theft In Kidderminster Car Park
Police have warned shoppers to be on their guard after a pensioner's bank cards were stolen by distraction thieves outside a Kidderminster store.
Officers are also appealing for witnesses and information following the incident in the car park at Morrisons in Green Street which happened just after 10am on Friday, 22 June.
The victim, a woman in her 70s from Wyre Forest, had just returned to her car after leaving the store when she was approached by a woman asking for directions. The woman, who spoke with an Eastern European accent, showed her a map and led her away from the car. It is thought that while the victim was distracted an accomplice entered her vehicle and stole her bank cards from a handbag left in the footwell.
The pensioner only realised her cards were missing when she drove to another store and tried to pay for items.
PC Dominic Lane said: "We think the victim was targeted inside the store and followed through the tills where her PIN number was overlooked prior to the bank card being stolen."
The woman who distracted the pensioner was around 5 feet 6 inches in height and wearing a sand coloured, woolly hat. Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen this woman in the vicinity of the store and anyone she was with.
Similar distraction-type thefts across West Mercia last summer (2011) led to police setting up a special operation to give a co-ordinated approach to such crimes. The offenders, usually Eastern Europeans, typically target women on their own and asking for directions is one technique they use to steal possessions.
PC Lane added: "We are urging people to be vigilant and not to allow themselves to be distracted, leaving their property unattended. It is also a good idea to keep bags fastened to prevent criminals gaining easy access to the contents and to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
"Shoppers should also be aware of other people standing very close or brushing against them and they should be particularly careful when entering PIN numbers if there are other people around them."
Witnesses or anyone with information should contact PC Lane at Kidderminster Police Station on 0300 333 3000, quoting incident 217-S-220612, or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.