The Simi Valley Police Department has recently experienced a pattern of wallet thefts from woman’s purses while shopping at local grocery stores.
Distraction crimes are committed by both men and women and sometimes work in pairs. A thief will ask the victim a seemingly harmless question; possibly for an opinion on a product, that will divert the victim’s attention for a few seconds. During that short amount of time, the thieves’ accomplice will dip into the shopper’s purse and remove the wallet. Most victims never see the accomplice. By the time a victim realizes the loss, both thieves are long gone.
Shortly after, thieves are using your credit cards to make large purchases at retail stores. Some purchases are gift cards which are untraceable. Most stores use point-of-sale terminals where the customer swipes a credit card and clerks never actually see it.
The SVPD would like to remind you:
• NEVER leave your purse or backpack unattended in the shopping cart
• Always zip your purse or backpack closed to prevent any thefts
• Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket or side pocket in a jacket
• Beware of other shoppers who may distract you while their accomplice steals your wallet/purse
• Watch out for other shoppers who may be vulnerable
• Secure your property to the cart’s safety belt or use a carabineer to attach your purse or backpack.
• Create alerts with your bank debit and credit cards which notify you when large purchases are being made. Contact your bank and Credit Card Company immediately to file a report.
• Report suspicious subjects to the store’s management
• Carry small amounts of cash and only bring credit cards you plan to use
SVPD is giving away FREE key chain carabineers from the front desk, located at 3901 Alamo Street, Simi Valley.
STAY ALERT! BE AWARE! DON’T BECOME A VICTIM!
Additional tips on Crime Prevention can be obtained from Simi Valley Police Department’s Crime Analysis & Prevention Unit’s Crime Prevention Coordinator Jean-Marie Maroshek at (805)583-6276.
Simi Valley Police Department