Distraction theft – Coffee shop/restaurant terraces

There appears to be a new method that thieves are using to steal goods on the terraces of cafes in various areas in the country. Basically the method involves the thief using a subtle approach targeting people who are drinking coffee or during meals (even in places where there are many people).

The thief comes close to the person holding an A4 sheet of paper in his hand and places it near to a wallet or mobile phone the potential target for theft has placed on the table. The thief distracts the victim by drawing his/her attention to the contents of the document normally items for sale. In doing so the document covers the mobile phone.

Usually the response is for the victim to say “no”. The thief then lifts the document from the table together with the mobile phone underneath, without the victim immediately noticing.

Thereafter, the thief walks away and, after a few seconds, after being out of reach of the victim escapes by running away.

This usually takes place in some of the bigger cities, but it can happen anywhere at a cafe or restaurant.

There is also another method used in shopping centres, which are normally the busiest spaces. Basically thieves acting in groups of two people. The first one makes an approach to the victim sitting at a table in order to distract him/her and capture their attention for a few seconds. At that moment, a second person approaches the table and removes belongings of value that maybe on the table. This only takes a few seconds but because the victim is looking elsewhere and is distracted he/she does not immediately notice the theft.

Advice

It is important not to display valuable items on tables of cafes, especially those on terraces close to roads because they are possible targets.


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