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There are a few things in life that I have zero tolerance for and one of them is people taking advantage of others — especially those who can’t defend themselves.

After watching a disturbing story on NewsNation tonight about some criminals taking advantage of senior citizens, I had to write about it to warn others and let off some steam.

YouTube video

As you’ll see from the surveillance video above, two middle-aged women spot two senior citizen ladies sitting in their chairs on the side of the street talking to each other. They back their car up, park, get out and befriend them.

The first lady is super-friendly and hugs her and the second follows suit. They look like old friends until the thief puts a fake necklace around one of the seniors, trying to sell it.

When the senior politely declines is when the scam takes place. Instead of taking the fake necklace off the thief, takes the seniors real one. Then the other tries to do the same with her rings.

Many of the jewels are heirlooms and aren’t worth much monetarily but are invaluable sentimentally.

This incident happened in Glendale, a suburb outside of Los Angeles but it’s not just happening in California. It’s happening all over the country, including in Kansas City last week.

Please look out for your belongings, loved ones and others. According to the Lenexa Police in Kansas, these ‘distraction thefts’ usually “occurs at retail stores and involves 2-3 suspects working together. Usually, 1 or 2 suspects will engage the victim in conversation while shopping … sometimes asking their opinion on a particular item. While the victim is distracted talking to the suspects, another suspect will reach into the victim’s purse to steal the wallet. All suspects leave and immediately start using the stolen credit cards at other retailers. By the time the victim realizes their wallet is gone, their cards have already been used.”

RELATED: This Type of Crime is on the Rise and Travelers Need to Take Note

“Pay attention to your surroundings at all times and keep a close eye on your purse when out in public. You could also keep your purse zipped closed or wear a cross-body or “fanny pack” style purse.”

This isn’t all that different from the pickpockets who target tourists all over the world. There are scams of all kinds out there, executed by all kinds of people, from little children to the elderly and everyone in between. It might start with someone bumping into you or it could be a full-on mugging, which once happened to one of our writers in Barcelona. Since pickpockets can be such a problem for travelers, I’ve written about ways to prevent it from happening to you. But the main thing for travelers to do is always wear a money belt like one of these to keep your money and valuable safe. Also consider a slash-proof  anti-theft crossbody bag like this one.

I’m not sure if society has taken a dramatic turn for the worse or if this has been happening all along and it’s only now being reported thanks to the rise of surveillance cameras, smart phones and social media. Either way it’s really disturbing.

I have a 93-year-old father who is so lonely, trusting and vulnerable because he can hardly see or hear. A criminal could easily rob him of his ring or rob any of his lonely mates (pictured below) who live in the same senior home.

You really have to be a terrible person to do something so awful. I hope they catch these crooks, lock them up and throw away the key because we don’t need them in society.

2 Comments On "Warning: ‘Distraction Thefts’ on the Rise and Senior Citizens are Most Vulnerable"
  1. Sharon Ermlich|

    Sharing my story. On 8/31/22 I was a victim of “distraction theft” in the store at approximately 12:00pm. I was approached by a young women asking if I could help with choosing a piece of salmon and how to cook it properly. After about a 5 minute conversation, she left me and I finished by shopping. When I went to check out and pay, I had no wallet or phone in my purse. I made sure it wasn’t in my car and even called my cell from the store, the phone had been turned off as the call went right to voicemail. That’s when I knew that the very polite women was an A number one con artist. I spoke with the store manager who was less than helpful or empathetic I left directly for my home. Within the hour or so time difference between the incident and contacting my bank my cards were charged with over $700.00. My $1100 one yr old iPhone was gone, my drivers license, 5 credit cards, pictures of my children, my passport, health insurance cards, $40 cash and 2 blank checks. I filed a report with the Jacksonville Beach PD and quickly began the laborious task to cancel or disable as much personal identity as I could. The cost of replacements of all is staggering. This is the most tedious and overwhelming situation I have ever been smack in the middle of. When my husband called on the day of the incident, he spoke with the manager who informed him that not only is there no security cameras but this has happened at this location before. I was without words when he told me her response, no cameras, it has happened before and TJ’s has done nothing! I plan on doing what you have not, social media, TV news, anywhere else I can get the word out about the lack of customer safety in this store. I’ve shopped TJ’s since the early days in PasadenaCA but no more!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Terrible! Sorry

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