Police advise of distraction theft at Port Place Mall
The Nanaimo RCMP are warning the public of a distraction technique after a female shopper had her credit card stolen and within two hours $3000 dollars in fraudulent transactions were added to it.
The incident began on Monday August 6th at approximately 4 p.m., when a female used her VISA at a food store located in the Port Place Mall. After walking to her car and unloading her groceries she placed her purse beside her in her car. Moments later she was approached by a male asking for directions to Qualicum Beach. The female recognized him from the store as he was standing in the line up next to her. The male was holding a map and asked her to step from her vehicle. She complied and after a few minutes a second male joined them and spoke a few words in a foreign language to the first male. The first male immediately put his map away and both walked in to the mall together.
When the female arrived home, she realized her VISA was missing. Having used it earlier to shop with she called and had it canceled. By the time the cancellation went thru VISA security told her it had been used seven times at different locations throughout Nanaimo and that $3000 dollars had been tallied up on her card. The female believes the male in the line up saw her enter her PIN when she used her VISA. She was not held responsible for the transactions.
The two males are believed to be of Eastern Europe descent by the language they spoke. Both were wearing suit jackets and had dark complexions. Police determined a female may have been involved with them. She is described as being approximately 5 ft 6 with dark hair. The card was used twice at the Port Place Mall and five times at the Woodgrove Center.
These males may also be associated to a similar occurrence in Saanich on August 8th. In that incident, a female was approached by a male as she sat in her car and asked to provide driving instructions. After giving the instructions, she believes someone took her wallet from her purse that was beside her in the car. The only description provided was of a stocky white male, 20-30 years of age, wearing a navy jacket and ball cap with a red brim.
Anyone with information on these incidents are asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or go online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com