Published: 00:00, 04 April 2014
| Updated: 14:07, 04 April 2014
Shoppers are still falling for ‘distraction’ thefts several weeks after police warned the public to be on their guard.
The latest victim was a customer at Park Farm Tesco who was targeted while putting shopping and a handbag into the boot of her car.
She was approached by a man who told her there was a nail in her tyre. When she arrived home she discovered an unseen accomplice had taken a wallet from her handbag.
The man on this occasion is described as Asian, aged 30 to 40 and with thick, black curly hair and a strong accent, police said.
He was wearing a short blue or grey jacket.
The theft happened at about midday on Wednesday, March 26.
The style of the crime matches a series of thefts that took place at supermarkets in Ashford, Hythe, Romney Marsh and Canterbury in February and March, although this is the first time a Tesco store has been hit.
Thieves on those occasions either used the “nail in the tyre” trick or distracted their victims by telling them they had dropped money then handing over a small amount of cash while an accomplice picked their pocket, stealing a far greater amount.
Thefts happened in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in Hythe, Sainsbury’s in New Romney, Waitrose in Ashford and Sainsbury’s in Canterbury between February 21 and March 11.
Following that initial spate of distraction thefts, Det Ch Insp Emma Banks advised shoppers to treat such approaches with caution and to take care to put shopping bags and purses away and lock items inside the car if possible before engaging with the stranger.
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