Following on from a post earlier in the week, police have provided further details about a thief operating in Pinner.
After an absence of several months the “prolific handbag, purse and wallet thief” has returned which police say has coincided in reports of such thefts occurring in Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s supermarkets.
The male thief targets his usually elderly victims by following them around the store, before taking their belongings when they are left in a momentarily unattended basket or trolley.
On other occasions belongings have been pickpocketed, police said via the OWL website.
The thief then goes on a spending spree using contactless forms of payments.
Although victims are compensated for any financial loss, some of the stolen handbags, purses and wallets have contained sentimental items, such as photographs of loved ones, which are irreplaceable and can understandably cause emotional distress.
A local police officer posted the following guidance for residents. “Experience has taught me that a lot of ladies’ clothing does not include pockets, which means that car keys, house keys, phones and purses – the latter of which may contain a driving licence with an address on – are kept together in a handbag.
“In the worst-case scenario a handbag being stolen could have serious consequences for its owner as their car could be stolen and their home burgled, all before they realise what has happened!
“Therefore, it is advisable that these belongings are separated to mitigate loss and avoid the expense of changing locks to a property.
“If bank cards are stolen it’s important to cancel them at the earliest opportunity, so ensure that your card issuer’s phone number, found on the reverse of your card, is in your mobile phone’s contact list.
“Please share this message on WhatsApp and social media groups, and speak to elderly family, friends and neighbours to help prevent them becoming victims of this crime.”