Waterloo Regional Police issued an alert to the public after receiving several reports of distraction theft-related incidents within the region.
Between Nov. 16 and 17, four reports were received from victims who have had their wallets stolen from their purses after being distracted by small talk or questions in a store or shortly after exiting a store.
In one instance, a victim was exiting a store in the area of Ottawa Street South and Fischer-Hallman Road in Kitchener when an unknown suspect engaged them in conversation. After the suspect left, the victim noticed their wallet was missing from their purse. The victim’s stolen debit card was then used to make purchases and cash withdrawals. The victim’s PIN was used during these transactions, indicating that the victim may have been observed by the suspect while paying for their purchases in the store.
While these fraudsters will take advantage of anyone, it appears that the suspects are targeting elderly females.
Waterloo Regional Police are reminding the public to be cautious and protect themselves by following these tips:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Shield your PIN as you make a purchase or cash withdrawal at an ATM
- If someone appears suspicious and randomly tries to engage in a conversation, pay close attention to your property
- If someone is crowding you in a checkout line, don’t be afraid to ask them to respect your space
- If you are unnecessarily bumped or crowded, be aware that a distraction theft might be occurring and check your valuables
- Keep your personal items within your eyesight while shopping, and do not leave any items unattended
- Be cautious if someone offers to help you bag or carry items you have purchased
- Report any suspicious activity to police
If you have been a victim of a distraction theft and have not yet reported the incident to police, please do so by calling 519-570-9777. If you have any information regarding any fraudulent activity, please report it to police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
3:51 PM | WRPS continue to investigate two suspicious vehicle incidents in Wellesley Township. On Nov. 6 at approximately 5 p.m., a suspicious vehicle was observed in the area of Lichty Road and Schummer Line. The vehicle was believed to have been following a female youth that was also in the area. The driver and passenger of the vehicle did not approach or speak to the female and the vehicle then left the area. The vehicle was described as a smaller black four-door car, possibly an older model. On Nov. 15 between 8:40 a.m. and 9 a.m., a suspicious vehicle was observed in the area of Hutchinson Road and Ayrshire Lane. It was reported that the driver of a black van had parked near a group of children waiting for a school bus. The driver did not speak or approach the children and then left the area once the school bus arrived. Officers are looking to identify and speak to the individuals that were in both of these vehicles. Anyone with information or video of the incident is encouraged to call police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Anonymous tips can also be submitted at www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.
12:15 AM | Waterloo Regional Police laid charges following a collision on Shantz Station Road near Vance Road east of Breslau. The investigation determined that the driver of a blue BMW lost control and left the roadway. The vehicle entered the ditch and flipped onto its hood. No one was injured, but the driver, a 29-year-old Cambridge man, was arrested and charged with ‘operation while impaired’ and ‘operation while impaired – blood alcohol concentration.’ Police believe there were other vehicles also in the ditch at the time of the incident, including a black Honda Civic. Investigators are looking to speak to witnesses that were in the area at the time of the collision. Anyone with information or dash camera footage of the incident, is asked to contact police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
11:15 AM | Emergency services responded to the area of Nafziger Road and Erbs Road in Wilmot Township for reports of a collision. Police determined that the driver of a Ford sedan had lost control and drove into oncoming traffic, colliding with an SUV. The driver of the Ford, a 16-year-old Waterloo girl, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The passenger, a 53-year-old Waterloo man, was also transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the SUV, a 20-year-old Wilmot woman, reported no physical injuries. Nafziger Road was closed for several hours for the investigation. The investigation is ongoing . Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or may have dash camera video footage is asked to call the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Traffic Unit at 519-570-9777, ext. 8856.
12:21 PM | A collision brought emergency crews to Hawkesville Road between Three Bridges Road and Northside Drive, St. Jacobs. Police determined that a driver of a Honda Odyssey was travelling east on Hawkesville Road when they veered off the roadway and struck a hydro pole. The driver, a 47-year-old Woolwich Township man, was uninjured. A 12-year-old passenger was transported to an out-of-region hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or may have dash camera video footage is asked to call the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Traffic Unit at 519-570-9777, ext. 8856.
4:04 PM | Emergency services responded to the area of Listowel Road and Three Bridges Road in Woolwich Township for reports of a single-vehicle collision. The driver lost control and went into the ditch. The roads were slippery and icy at the time of the collision. The driver was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. There were no charges laid.