'Anybody could be fooled with a scam such as this': Victim of distraction theft speaks out
Published Sunday, May 31, 2020 2:57PM EDT
GUELPH -- A victim of a distraction theft in Guelph is speaking out in hopes others won’t fall for the same trick.
On Tuesday morning, 73-year-old Mary Carley had just finished her grocery shopping at the Shops at Paisley.
She was in her car waiting for her husband when she says she sat her purse in the seat beside her and was approached by a man wearing a medical mask.
He knocked on her door and pointed to fluid leaking from a rear tire.
“I immediately realized it was a safety issue so I got out,” said Carley. “It wasn’t very long I was distracted.”
Her wallet was stolen as she was looking at the fluid.
She estimates that everything happened in less than a minute.
“Anybody could be fooled with a scam such as this,” said Robery Carley, Mary’s husband.
It wasn't until the two had returned home that they realized the incident was suspicious.
“It was all over the place, so I thought somebody sprayed something on the wheel,” said Robert. “This could be a complete scam, so at that point she checked her purse and her wallet was missing.”
Carley’s wallet contained credit cards, debit cards, a health card, driver’s licence, and $30 in cash.
Police say there were three unsuccessful attempts made to withdraw money from her account at a nearby bank.
“It’s the feeling of being violated,” said Robert. “It’s the feeling of people going around during a time of community crisis, taking advantage of the situation, because now you’re able to wear a mask which helps you disguise their faces.”
The suspect is described as a middle aged man, average height, heavy set, slightly balding, well dressed, and spoke with an accent.
Police say they are looking to speak to two people in relation to the incident, pictured below.
They add that they have been contacting neighbouring police services about similar incidents taking place elsewhere.
“It’s just an added layer of vigilance, added to everything else that we’re doing,” said Carley.
Police say the incidents seem to be targeted at more mature adults.
They are reminding the public to stay cautious and vigilant when they are approached by someone they don’t know.