Police: Woman’s wallet taken in ‘distracted robbery’ at Bishops Corner – We-Ha

West Hartford police are looking for suspects in a distraction robbery that happened in a parking lot in Bishops Corner on Tuesday.

By Ronni Newton

A woman who was lured from her vehicle in the car park outside Whole Foods in Bishops Corner on Tuesday by a man trying to tell her something was wrong with her vehicle has been robbed by distraction apparent, West Hartford police said.

According to Sgt. Amanda Martin, a 64-year-old woman, had placed her groceries in her vehicle in the parking lot outside Whole Foods at 340 North Main St. in Bishops Corner at 1:07 p.m. Tuesday and was inside her car and was preparing to leave when a man standing on the passenger side of his car waved at his attention. The woman got out of the car, leaving the driver’s side door open, walked around to see what the man was trying to say, and according to police, he held up a wheel nut and told her he had fallen out of his car.

Meanwhile, police said, a woman pushing a cart in the parking lot leaned against the open car door.

The victim asked the suspect what she was doing, and the suspect began to walk away and the suspect then ran towards North Main Street, police said.

According to the police, when the victim got back into his car to leave, he realized that his wallet, which was in his purse inside the car, was missing.

Police said the male suspect, who the victim said spoke with a “heavy accent” and wore a surgical mask, was short and had black hair. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt with white stripes and denim shorts. The suspect is short and petite, with dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. She also wore a surgical mask and was dressed in a long beige tunic, police said.

Police are trying to get CCTV footage of the theft from cameras in the parking lot and are also asking for footage from the stores where the suspects used the victim’s credit cards.

Martin said this incident matches incidents that occurred in February 2022 – one of which was in the same parking lot and the other was in Trader Joe’s parking lot at Corbin’s Corner.

Martin and West Hartford Police have offered the following information and prevention tips to avoid becoming a victim of these types of thefts:

  • Typically, distraction thieves are well-dressed, well-spoken men and women who target elderly victims and retail businesses.
  • Thieves usually work in pairs and often wait for the target to get into a car. Then the distractor will tell the victim that they have a flat tire or a problem with their vehicle such as the lug nut. When the victim gets out to investigate the problem, an accomplice enters his vehicle and steals items.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and be wary of strangers.
  • If you get out of your vehicle to talk to someone, lock and close your vehicle doors behind you.
  • Place valuables such as a purse or locked in a hidden place in the vehicle and, if possible, slip your wallet inside your purse.
  • Park in a visible, well-lit area and keep in mind the location of exterior cameras on nearby buildings.
  • Immediately report any suspicious behavior to the police.

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