There are a number of tactics used by thieves, said Const. Meghan O'Malley, media relations officer with GSPS.
“We have seen distractions here, and it's very possible that Sudbury residents could encounter these circumstances, so we thought it would be a good idea to put out this information to keep people award,” she said.
In July, distraction tactics were used to steal jewelry from Ambrosia Jewellers on Lasalle Boulevard. Four suspects entered the store and engaged the clerk in conversation, according to a news release from police at the time of the incident. A fifth suspect then entered the office area and removed jewellery from a safe.
After the theft, the fifth suspect remained in the store, before leaving with the other four.
Arrests have been made in this case, O'Malley said, and it's a reminder to all that these things do happen in Sudbury.
“It wouldn't be unusual for things happening down south to happen even more here in Sudbury,” she warned.
Following are some of the distraction tactics used, according to police.
Street Distraction: The victim is approached by a suspect, usually in a shopping area, often by a female, who offers to give gold jewelry in memory of a deceased family member, or as a gift. The suspect places a fake gold necklace over the victim’s neck and quickly removes the victim’s own gold necklace. The victim usually does not realize the theft has occurred until later.
Family in Need Distraction: Suspect(s) will approach the victim and give a sympathetic story about a family member in need. The suspect then offers expensive looking jewelry in exchange for financial assistance. Most of this jewelry will have the 10K, 14K or 18K stamps in order to make it appear authentic. The perpetrators are often stopped at on-ramps of highways flagging victims over.
Follow the Shopper Distraction: Suspect(s) will position themselves behind a shopper at a cash check-out and memorize the victim’s PIN. The victim is then followed outside and is deliberately distracted while a second suspect steals the victim’s bank/credit card and immediately attends a financial institution to empty the victim’s account. The victims targeted are usually elderly.
Store Distraction: A large group will distract a store employee while a female suspect conceals retail
goods under a long flowing skirt with hidden compartments. Targeted businesses include convenience, retail and jewelry stores.
-Keep your personal items within eyesight while shopping and never turn your back on them in public.
-Keep all zippers closed and pockets buttoned.
-If an unusual situation occurs in a store or parking lot, stay alert and remember to lock your car doors before attempting to help anyone else with minor nuisances.
-If you witness any suspicious activity, contact the police.