Shoppers in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells are being reminded to keep their purses and bags safe after victims were targeted in supermarket carparks.
At around 11.30am on Wednesday 3 March 2021, it is reported a woman in her 60s had a purse stolen when she was distracted by a man in Morrisons carpark in St Saviours Road, Maidstone.
A bank card from the purse was later used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs in the town centre.
A second purse theft was reported at around 12.45pm on the same day in Sainsbury’s carpark in Linden Park Road, Tunbridge Wells. A woman in her 70s was distracted by a man while she was returning her trolley and she later found her purse was missing.
A bank card was subsequently used to take cash from an ATM at the supermarket and at other cash machines in the town centre.
District Commander for Tunbridge Wells, Chief Inspector Omid Changizi said: ‘I would remind shoppers to be careful when out and about to avoid becoming victim to opportunist thieves who often work as a pair.
‘In both these incidents we suspect the victim was observed using their bank card whilst inside the supermarket. They were then distracted by a man asking questions in the carpark while an accomplice is believed to have stolen their purse.
‘It is important to ensure nobody is able to see your PIN when you use a cash machine or pay for purchases. Never leave handbags unattended and always lock your car when you have unpacked your shopping and are returning the trolley. Take particular care if anybody you do not know engages you in conversation outside the store.’
As soon as a theft of bank cards is discovered, it is important that banks are contacted immediately to prevent criminals withdrawing victim’s money or making purchases.
Anyone with information about the thefts should contact 01622 604100, quoting reference number 46/35325/21.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111 or using the anonymous online form.