The victim of a distraction thief who pretended to have lost a dog says the crime made her feel angry and insecure.
The 68-year-old woman had been shopping at Lidl in Cambridge Close, Aylesbury, when she a man approached her in the car park while an accomplice stole bank cards from her vehicle.
The gang struck at least five times in Aylesbury from September to November. But despite clear CCTV images and a police appeal which made it onto the front page of The Bucks Herald, the culprits are yet to be apprehended.
The woman, who was targeted on the late morning of November 3, said: “I paid for my purchases in Lidl with my debit card and then I went to put my shopping in the boot. I put my handbag on the front seat. I had literally just got in to the car and hadn’t closed the door when this chap standing at the back of the car said ‘excuse me, I’ve lost a little black dog’.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, got out to help him.
“He said somebody had told him that if goes to this place he can find out if the dog has been handed in. He had a scrubby little map in his hands with no street names and I said he ought to go to the police or RSPCA.
“He said he was sorry his English was not very good, so I spoke a couple of sentences to him in French and he was very fluent. I think he may have been Algerian.
“He kept me talking for about three or four minutes. I then told the parking attendant to watch out for the dog.”
When the woman went to get petrol 20 minutes later, she realised her cards had been stolen.
“Somebody had been watching me in Lidl put my pin in,” she said. “While I was talking the other person went round to the passenger door, opened it and took the cards out of my bag.
“They then must have hoofed it up to Lloyds bank where they took out as much money as they could. They also went to Boots and spent £280 there before I could stop my card.”
She said the incident made her feel ‘gullible’.
“I was so angry with myself for leaving my bag on the seat without thinking.
“I worked in the Young Offenders for 12 years so I’m not stupid but I just didn’t think.
“What upset me the most was somebody watched me and followed me.
“Somebody said about their dog and I have a dog so I wanted to help.
“It’s a nasty crime and afterwards I felt quite insecure. If somebody came up to me for help I would think twice which is a shame because that’s not how it should be.”
She said the man who distracted her was about 6ft1, 50 years of age, with large tinted glasses with a black frame. He had thick wavy black hair of normal length and a three quarter-length rain coat.
Other thefts took place at Morrisons (October 15), Poundland (September 7 and 18) and M&S (September 2).
Call police on 101 Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you have any information.