Police warn residents to "remain vigilant" after latest distraction theft
Elderly victims robbed of cards, cash and purses in supermarkets in Newbury and Thatcham
POLICE are warning West Berkshire residents to "remain vigilant" after the theft of a number of purses and credit cards in recent weeks.
Most of the victims were elderly and targeted while they shopped in supermarkets in Newbury and Thatcham.
In one incident the victim was distracted by a male in a supermarket car park who indicated that there was something wrong with the vehicle and leant through the window to open the bonnet of the car and pretended to work on it.
The victim later found her credit card was missing from her purse which had been on the passenger seat of the car.
The suspect is described as having an olive coloured complexion, aged between 50-60 years, about 5ft 8’’ tall, medium build , clean shaven but with a pockmarked face.
That incident came after an elderly woman had her bank card stolen while out shopping in a Newbury supermarket.
The pensioner noticed that the card was missing after she had been queuing in Lidl, London Road, at around noon on Saturday, February 6.
The stolen bank card was later used to withdraw £500 from a cash machine.
That incident came after Thames Valley Police had issued a warning following a spate of purse and credit card thefts from handbags and coat pockets across Newbury and Thatcham.
Four incidents took place in local supermarkets during the first week of February when the victims, who were all elderly, had their credit cards or purses stolen.
Police have issued the following guidance:
· Be aware of people around you when entering your PIN number, always shield the screen when entering the number into a machine.
· Make sure you put your bank cards back in your purse and close the handbag securely
· Never leave your bag unattended on your shopping trolley, even if you are looking at groceries.
· Don’t leave your bag or purse unattended if you are distracted by an unknown person in a supermarket or supermarket car park.
People are being advised to report any suspicious persons immediately to the police by calling 101. If a crime is in progress dial 999.