A spate of distraction thefts have been reported in Merton. Targeting mobile phones, the gang have been operating in various public places, such as pubs, cafes and restaurants. There have also been reports of incidents in libraries and estate agents.
A man (who has been known to speak in a Spanish accent) approaches someone sat at a table with their phone in front of them. He then places a map or other piece of paper over the phone and asks for directions or, occasionally, a small amount of money. Following the conversation, he removes the map, and with it the phone.
The police and Safer Merton are working hard to catch those responsible but would request members of the public to be aware.
Chris Williams, Safer Merton Crime Analyst said: “When you are out and are sitting at a table, do not leave your phone on the table. We also ask that if you work in a pub or café that you keep an eye out for anyone with a map asking for directions. Steer them away from people at tables and offer to give the directions yourself.’
If you are see anyone acting in this way or an incident has just happened and you think the police will catch them then dial 999. You can also report crimes to the police in Merton on 020 8947 1212.
Notes to editors:
You can view more crime alerts and crime prevention advice at http://www.safermerton.org.uk
020 8545 3483