Warn­ing over ‘slick and pro­fes­sional’ bag thieves

Woman tar­geted by two men who dis­tracted her as they claimed to be to fix­ing her car

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A WOMAN who had her hand­bag stolen from her car in Ick­en­ham by two men in a dis­trac­tion theft has warned others to be vigilant.

The theft hap­pened in Vin­lake Av­enue, just off Swake­leys Road at around 1.45pm on Thurs­day, Au­gust 18 af­ter the vic­tim had vis­ited a friend.

The vic­tim, who asked not to be named, was ap­proached by the two men who told her there was a fault with her car. While they dis­tracted her by act­ing as if they were fix­ing the car, one man made off with the woman’s hand­bag and the other left shortly af­ter.

The vic­tim said: “This is very likely a com­mon rou­tine. I think it is worth let­ting peo­ple know not to get dis­tracted into let­ting go of their bag or putting it down when ap­proached by a stranger in the street.

“This is ev­i­dently their pro­fes­sion and they are well prac­tised and slick.”

She re­called a man ap­proached her car point­ing ur­gently at the side of the ve­hi­cle, and said oil was trail­ing from the bot­tom. The vic­tim now sus­pects that the man had poured oil on the floor to cre­ate the trail.

He then asked the woman to open her bon­net and may have pressed the cars un­lock but­ton as she had leaned into the car to open it.

She said: “His man­ner was ur­gent and re­as­sur­ing, telling me that he was a me­chanic and talk­ing flu­ently – ev­i­dently a well re­hearsed pat­ter.”

A sec­ond man then ap­proached the ve­hi­cle and the woman sensed im­me­di­ately that they were to­gether, but be­lieved the sec­ond man was just wait­ing for his friend.

The first man then dropped a bead bracelet into the car engine and as the woman helped him look for it. The sec­ond man is be­lieved to have opened the car door and taken her hand­bag while they were dis­tracted.

The sec­ond man van­ished, and the other fol­lowed shortly af­ter, say­ing he had to meet his girl­friend.

The vic­tim added: “I went to look for my bag, first in the footwell and then in the boot. Of course it had been stolen from the footwell, but in the minute or so that it took me to re­alise this the man was nowhere to be seen.”

The woman de­scribed the first man as in his 40s, with a strong Ir­ish ac­cent, around 5ft 7ins tall and of ‘sturdy build.’

He was wear­ing ca­sual clothes that could have been worn for a phys­i­cal job in­clud­ing a khaki green can­vas cap. His hair was short and brown.

The sec­ond man, who did not speak, is de­scribed as younger, of slighter build and with black hair.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion that could aid police in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion is asked to call 101.

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