Pickpockets target elderly women

Saturday, October 22, 2005

At least four reports of a pickpocket scheme have been reported since Wednesday, the Cape Girardeau Police Department said.

The victims are elderly women who were reportedly approached by a well-dressed black man at restaurants and shopping areas on the city's west side. While he distracted them, one or two other black men would steal money and items from the womens' purses.

The distractor wore a white shirt and black slacks. In one instance, he talked to a woman about buying something for his grandmother. In two incidents, he reportedly got his hand caught in the door of a business and called two of his friends over to help him. The women waiting near the door were caught among the men.

The locations of the reported incidents were at the Cracker Barrell, Taco Bell on Kingshighway and twice at Big Lots.

The women usually wore long-handled purses or bags that were left open, reports said. Some even walked out of the buildings and into the parking lot before they realized that items were stolen. Women should either carry short-strapped handbags or make sure they are closed, officers said.

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