OPP are warning of a thief that steals from victims by distracting them first.
On the afternoon of August 10, West Nipissing OPP officers got a report of a distraction theft which occurred earlier in the day at a local grocery store located on Front Street in Sturgeon Falls.
While shopping, an elderly female victim was approached by a man asking for help in buying chicken for his grandmother. As the victim answered several of his questions and helped him, the thief was successful in distracting her and stole the wallet from her purse.
The male suspect is described as:
- late 30s
- darker skin
- approximately 6'2'' tall
- short dark hair
- has an accent
- wearing a navy blue t-shirt and sunglasses on his head
Then later, that same afternoon police got complaints from two other female customers had their wallets stolen from their purse at the same grocery store. The thief again distracted the victims by asking them for help.
Police believe the same man is responsible for all three thefts and he may have had an accomplice.
Shortly thereafter, Noelville OPP officers also responded to a distraction theft at a grocery store on Notre Dame Street in Noelville. The elderly female victim reported her wallet was stolen from her purse while she was approached by, and assisted, a woman to look for a product.
The victim was not able to provide a description of the thief.
Police did not name the stores involved.
These investigations are continuing and police are asking anyone with information regarding those responsible for these thefts, to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority.
Here's how to protect your personal safety and prevent becoming victims of theft and fraud.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Guard PIN numbers; don't keep wallets in a back pocket; keep purses secure and close to your body
- Be aware of a stranger approaching you or trying to distract you
- Report suspicious activity
- Do not feel as if you have to be a problem-solver for anyone who approaches you