Fast facts from Newport Beach Police to keep our community safe

A series courtesy of the Newport Beach Police Department

Courtesy of NBPD

New distraction theft trend involving…ketchup

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) has started hearing reports from some other local agencies about a new trend in distraction thefts; and we recently had a similar incident reported in our city last week.

Here’s how this trend typically works:

The suspects work in pairs at least, but there can be as many as four people involved. They typically target elderly individuals in shopping center or grocery store parking lots. One suspect will “accidentally” squirt ketchup on the victim, then apologize and help them clean up. Meanwhile, the other suspect will steal the victim’s wallet from their purse or pocket while the victim is distracted. They will take all of the credit cards and cash, then replace the wallet. There have been reports of instances of these individuals burglarizing the victim’s vehicle at the same time if there are more than two suspects. The credit cards are then used to purchase gift cards at grocery stores or Target stores, or to make large purchases at Apple stores.

NBPD is encouraging residents to practice situational awareness whenever they are out and about. Here are some tips for doing that:

–Pay attention and limit distractions (including being on your cell phone).

–Be aware when you are approached by a stranger or when someone gets into your personal space.

–Trust your instincts.

–Lock your vehicle whenever you step outside of it.

–Never leave your keys in the ignition when you are not in the car. Take them out of the vehicle and lock your car whenever you exit your vehicle.

–Valuables should not be easily seen or accessed by others.

–Do not lose sight of your personal belongings.


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