Suffolk: Cops issue warning after thieves target elderly shoppers in car parks

SUFFOLK: Police are today urging shoppers to be vigilant after a spate of distraction thefts in supermarket car parks left five elderly victims distraught.

The incidents have all followed a similar pattern, in which a woman approaches the target holding a map and asking for directions, while a man stands nearby.

After they leave, the victims – who have been aged between 72 and 86 – find their wallets or purses have been stolen.

Police are linking the five incidents:

- February 4, 2.30pm – Tesco, Anson Road, Martlesham, where a woman aged 73 was targeted.

- February 17, 11am – Sainsbury’s, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, involving an 84-year-old woman.

- February 17, between 1pm and 3pm – Sainsbury’s, Warren Heath, in which the victim was a woman aged 82.

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- February 24, 2.30pm – Asda, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, where the victim was a man of 72.

- February 24 – Sainsbury’s, Hadleigh Road, where an 86-year-old man had his wallet stolen.

In three of the five incidents which police are investigating, the cards have gone on to be used to withdraw cash and make purchases in Argos.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police warned that people of all ages could be targeted using this distraction method and called for residents to pass the message on to friends and neighbours.

“We would recommend that people make sure they cover the key pad when entering their card number at the checkout or at cash machines,” she said.

“If they see anything suspicious, they should report it straight away to store security guards or police, and be wary of people around the store or the car park who might be watching what they are doing.”

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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