Pickpocket incidents on the rise at grocery stores in Westchester County

Marcus Solis Image
Saturday, February 10, 2024
Pickpocket incidents on the rise at grocery stores in NY county
Marcus Solis has the story.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Police in Westchester County are warning shoppers to be on the lookout for pick pocketers.

Investigators say they are seeing a rise in crimes at local supermarkets, and they have released surveillance video of one of the recent incidents to show residents how quickly and easily they can become a victim.

But even when caught on camera, the crime can be hard to spot.

In one instance, a thief was caught on camera repeatedly reaching into a cart at a Stop & Shop in North White Plains, removing items from another shopper's purse. Meanwhile, others are distracting the victim.

The crime may not be new, but police warn it is becoming more frequent in parts of New York.

"It's definitely on the rise throughout Westchester County," said Detective Sergeant Kevin Finateri of the North Castle Police Department.

For the most part, thieves are targeting shoppers who place their handbags on their cart, leaving them unattended and open. Shoppers may only stray a few feet to bag produce or reach for an item on a shelf, but that is enough room for the thieves to step in.

A second incident was reported at the same supermarket.

One suspect stood behind a woman, recording her as she entered her pin number at checkout. Then, two other women distracted her, and pickpocketed her as she left. With her card and her pin number, the thieves were able to steal 17 hundred dollars.

"Within minutes, they are at an ATM," said Finateri. "Before the person even knows they have been victimized, their money is already removed from their account."

Police say a crossbody bag, with your wallet on your person, can be helpful in keeping your belongings safe. Plus, it is important to cover up your pin number as you check out.

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