Nanaimo Mounties are warning the public about thieves who use a distraction ploy to steal credit cards.
The heads-up follows an incident Monday at about 4 p.m. after a woman used her credit card at a grocery store in Port Place Shopping Centre. She loaded her groceries in her car, got in the vehicle and set her purse down beside her.
A man came up and asked her for directions to Qualicum Beach. The woman recognized him from when he was standing in the checkout line next to her in the store. After a few minute’s conversation, a second man came up and spoke a few words in a foreign language to the first man, who put his map away and both men walked into the mall together.
The woman discovered her credit card was missing when she got home and cancelled the card, but was told the card had already been used seven times, totalling $3,000 in purchases, at different locations in Nanaimo by the time the cancellation went through.
The card was used twice at the Port Place Mall and five times at the Woodgrove Center. The victim was not held responsible for the purchases.
Police said they believe the suspects are of eastern European descent. Both men wore suit jackets and had dark complexions and might also have a female accomplice. She is described as approximately 5’6″ tall with dark hair.
The same men might also have committed a crime in Saanich on Wednesday when a woman had her wallet stolen under similar circumstances.
The suspect in that incident was described as a stocky Caucasian male, 20-30 years old, wearing a navy jacket and ball cap with a red brim.
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.