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Guelph police investigate 2 similar distraction thefts at local grocery stores

Click to play video: 'Police warn about rise of ‘distraction thefts’ after Vancouver senior targeted' Police warn about rise of ‘distraction thefts’ after Vancouver senior targeted
An 83-year-old Vancouver woman was robbed of her necklace and Rolex watch in a distraction theft. The incident was captured on surveillance camera, and the thieves were accompanied by a young child. Nadia Stewart reports – Oct 1, 2020

Guelph police are investigating two distraction thefts that officers say happened Wednesday at local grocery stores and look quite similar.

A 71-year-old woman reported that her wallet had been stolen while shopping in a store near Gordon Street and Clair Road.

Read more: Guelph police looking for owner of stolen jewelry

“She was approached by a male,” police said in a news release. “The male said he did not speak English and asked for help locating an item. The male quickly left the area and the victim realized a short time later her wallet was missing.”

The service added that the woman’s credit card had been used before she was able to cancel it.

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Later that day, police were informed of another similar theft, involving a woman in her 60s shopping for groceries near Eramosa Road and Stevenson Street.

“She was approached by a male who said he could not see very well and asked a question about produce,” police said. “The male then left the area and the victim realized her wallet was gone.

Read more: Victim of Guelph distraction theft and police issue warning

Her credit card company called her later to report suspicious activity on her card.

Police said it’s not known if either thefts are connected but anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-824-1212 ext. 7263.

Click to play video: 'York police release video of distraction theft in Markham' York police release video of distraction theft in Markham
York police release video of distraction theft in Markham – Oct 25, 2019

Last month, police reported a string of distraction thefts in Guelph that appeared to be targeting elderly women.

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All of them happened in or close to a larger grocery store or department store where victims had their purses or wallets stolen.

In two cases, purses were removed from shopping carts while the victims had their backs turned.

Read more: Thieves appear to be targeting elderly women in recent spate of distraction thefts

In another two, the victims were approached after getting into their vehicles and told they had a nail or pin in their tire. After inspecting the tires, the victims got back into their vehicle to find their wallets missing.

Another woman noticed her wallet missing after she was approached by someone in a parking lot asking for directions, according to police.

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