A pair of thieves are believed to be behind a spree of distraction crimes at supermarkets in three different towns in Wiltshire on the same afternoon.
The pair targeted pensioners in Devizes, Trowbridge and Melksham on the same afternoon, distracting loading their shopping in car parks and stealing debit cards. Within hours the cards were used to withdraw cash and buy goods to a total value of almost £2,000.
Police warned shoppers to be vigilant, and keep their purses and wallets close to them at all times, following the thefts, which happened on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 19.
The spree began in the car park at Morrisons in Devizes at around 12.30pm that afternoon. A woman approached a 78-year-old man loading his car to tell him he had dropped a £10 note. He checked his wallet before leaving the car park and later realised his debit card was missing. Within minutes, it had been used to withdraw £500 from a cashpoint in the town.
Police believe the same couple then appeared in Trowbridge’s Tesco car park less than three hours later at 3.15pm. They approached a 78-year-old woman to tell her there was a nail in one of her tyres. As the man helped her check, police think the woman reached into the car and took her debit card from the purse.
Again within minutes, it was used to withdraw £500 in cash, buy £490 of goods at Argos and £90 worth at Boots.
Little more than an hour later, in Sainsbury’s car park in Melksham, they used the same ‘£10 note on the ground’ to distract an 84-year-old man, while one stole his debt card. It was then used to withdraw £300 in cash.
Anyone who recognises the couple, pictured here on CCTV at one of the stores, should contact DC Jannette Challes at Wiltshire police on 101.