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Shoppers warned after distraction thefts in Kidderminster
9:20am Wednesday 26th September 2012 in News
A SERIES of distraction thefts in Kidderminster car parks have prompted police to warn shoppers to be vigilant.
On Thursday, September 6 at 7.30pm a woman in her 50s was stopped on the car park of Morrisons, in Green Street, and asked for change by a woman speaking in broken English, who was then joined by a man.
The victim was not aware of her bank card being stolen at the time but £1,560 was later withdrawn from her account.
On Thursday, August 23, at 2.30pm credit cards were stolen from an elderly man on the same car park.
Detective Inspector Dean Jones of West Mercia Police said: "We believe groups of men and women, described as Eastern Europeans, have been committing these crimes across the region. These latest reports suggest they are once again active in this area.
"The gangs are prolific thieves who target people, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, while they are shopping and using supermarket car parks."
Det Insp Jones said officers were patrolling car parks, and liaising with West Midlands Police as several similar offences have been reported in Solihull.
He said it was likely the thieves were watching shoppers inputting their PIN numbers at the tills.
They then approached them as they left the store, distracting them by using excuses such as needing change or asking for directions.
Shoppers were often unaware cards had been stolen until a large quantity of cash had been withdrawn from their bank account.
Det Insp Jones said: "Shoppers are being reminded to be vigilant, both at the tills and when leaving supermarkets, and to be aware of who is around them. They need to make every effort to shield their PIN, and of course, never write it down."
Anyone with information should contact West Mercia Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.