Calgary police warn of string of distraction thefts

Canada Global (Web News) Police in Calgary are warning citizens to be on the lookout after a wave of what they are calling “distraction thefts.”

Twelve distraction thefts were reported between the end of January and the start of February, many of which, according to the police, targeted elderly people like “Diane.”

Around 3:45 p.m. on January 31, Diane, 80, walked inside a sizable retail establishment in South Trail Crossing. After paying with her credit card, she was about to leave when an unidentified man stopped her and offered to help her get to her car. She agreed, and the man assisted her in pushing the cart that was holding her open handbag.

After assisting Diane with loading her shopping bags into her car, the man advised her that one of her tyres had a loose tyre valve cover. As she tightened the valve cover, she observed that the man had vanished.

Authorities suspect that while she was preoccupied with the car’s upkeep, the man stole her debit and credit cards from her open purse.

After learning that she had been conned of more than $21,000 in cash withdrawals and transactions using her debit and credit cards shortly after the meeting with the enigmatic man, Diane reported the incident to the police two days later.

According to the police, in distraction crimes, the con artist would frequently watch a victim input a card PIN during a transaction (a practise known as shoulder-surfing) and will then direct an accomplice to use a distraction technique to steal the victim’s debit and credit cards.

Two to four offenders are operating together and picking off helpless people at large store chains, according to Police.

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