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Police hunt 'man with a map' suspected in spate of distraction thefts

PUBLISHED: 08:52 16 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:52 16 February 2019

Police are warning the public to keep a close eye on valuables following a spate of distraction thefts in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police are warning the public to keep a close eye on valuables following a spate of distraction thefts in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Police are investigating a series of distraction thefts in Ipswich - where a man with a map entered shops asking for directions before stealing the victim's phone or purse.

The first theft took place on Saturday, January 26, at around 4.30pm, when a young man entered Zeebra Chic in Dial Lane and asked for directions on a map.

As he left the shop, the victim noticed her phone was missing.

On Monday February 11, between 11.30am and 11.45am, a woman reported her purse had been stolen from St Mary-Le-Tower Church House in Oak Lane.

According to police, the victim had left her bag unattended inside the church for a short period.

When she returned, she spotted a man holding a map asking directions from a member of the church.

When she left, she noticed her purse, containing cash and cards, had been taken.

On Tuesday, February 12, at around 1.30pm, a man entered Scissor & Needles in St Helens Street and asked for directions.

After he left, the victim realised her phone was missing.

Then on Wednesday, February 13, at around 3pm, police received a report of a theft at Dress Circle in Fore Street where a man with a map had stolen a phone.

Police believe they are looking for one suspect and are appealing for help to trace him.

He is described as young, possibly a teenager or in his early 20s, with an eastern European accent of slim to skinny build with short, dark hair.

Witnesses or anybody with any information are asked to call the Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood team on 101, quoting reference 8792/19.

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