Police: Distraction thefts

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Investigation launched following distraction thefts in Woking and Surrey Heath

Surrey Police has launched an investigation following a number of distraction thefts in Woking and Surrey Heath over the last two weeks.

The most recent incident took place at Lynch Estate Agents in Woking High Street between 11-15 am and midday on Friday (January 20), when two women speaking broken English asked sales staff for details of properties which were on the market. During the conversation the women waved a piece of paper in the agent’s face to distract him, giving them the opportunity to take a computerised personal organiser from his desk. The younger woman has then taken a phone call before they both left the office.

The first suspect is of Asian appearance, in her mid 40s to 50s, 5 ft 4 tall, with dark-coloured hair and wearing a black and white checked head covering and dark clothing. The second suspect is also of Asian appearance, in her 20s, 5ft 4 to 5 ft 6 tall, with dark hair which was in a bun. She was wearing a black fitted bomber jacket and was carrying a phone with a pink cover.

A similar incident took place at Alan Greenwood and Sons Funeral Director in The Parade, Frimley, at 1-45pm on January 18. A man came in asking about arranging a funeral before picking up a £500 i Phone from the desk and running out of the shop. He is described as being of Asian appearance, in his early 20s, 5 ft 7 tall, with short dark hair and was wearing a black top or coat, brown trousers and black plimsolls.

Police are also investigating an incident at Accessorize in The Peacocks Centre in Woking around 5pm on January 13 when one man distracted a member of staff at the till while another man made off with her £400 i Phone.

Officers are also investigating an incident at Leaders Estate Agent in Chertsey Road, Woking, just before 1pm on January 10. A man and a woman went to the office and distracted staff using leaflets and begging for money before making off with a £700 i Phone. The man was described as around 20 years with short dark hair and wearing blue jeans and a tracksuit top, while the woman was described as 20-30 years, of Indian or Eastern European appearance with long dark hair in a ponytail and was wearing a silk scarf and silk skirt with trousers underneath.

Police are also investigating links with a burglary at a house in Princess Gardens in Maybury on Sunday (January 22), when a woman knocked on the back door and asked to use the toilet. After she left, the elderly occupant realised that £40 cash had been taken from the pocket of a pair of trousers he had left in the bathroom. The woman is described as white, 20-30 years old, of a slim build and was wearing a woolly hat.

West Surrey Detective Inspector Andy Haslam said: “We are carrying out a number of enquiries to try and establish the offenders responsible for these thefts. In the meantime, we would ask staff and shop owners to remain vigilant and not to leave their personal possessions on display.”

If you have any information regarding any of these incidents, please contact Surrey Police on 101, quoting crime reference number WK/12/404. Alternatively, if you prefer to remains anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Andy is a business systems and operations consultant for The Business Delicatessen and has helped the KRA over several years. He is former editor of the magazine and also runs Fat Crow Design.

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