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Shopping Center Distraction Thefts

Post Date:03/14/2023 12:00 pm

Recently, we have received reports of distraction thefts in occurring in shopping center parking lots. The incidents often go something like this:

As you walk through the parking lot, an individual approaches you and asks you for directions. After offering your assistance, the suspect “thanks” you by gifting you a watch or other piece of jewelry. While placing the new jewelry item on you, they remove your own jewelry. Often times, they will “secure” your own jewelry in another container and give the container to you. It is not until later that you realize that your property was either not placed in the container after all or it was exchanged for a phony piece of jewelry.  

Pickpockets try to overwhelm or distract you to create an opportunity to take your property. They most often are trying to snatch jewelry, watches and wallets. It is important to maintain situational awareness to avoid being the victim of a pickpocket or distraction theft.

Here are some recommendations for practicing situational awareness and deterring pickpockets:  

  • As you go about your daily tasks, pay attention to the people, objects, vehicles and events happening around you.
  • Limit distractions whenever possible.
  • Be aware when someone gets into your personal space.
  • Trust your instincts if someone or something is making you uncomfortable.
  • Whenever you are out and about, remember to not lose sight of your personal belongings.

For additional information about pickpocketing, check out this video: https://youtu.be/Db0ygkFaLUc


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