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Friday, August 5, 2022

Ocala police offer safety tips for local shoppers

The occurrence of distraction-type thefts has increased in local stores, and the Ocala Police Department is offering safety tips for the city’s shoppers.

While shopping in a store, theft suspects attempt to distract victims long enough to steal their purse or wallet. According to OPD, these thefts typically increase in the summer and winter months, and it can be difficult to investigate since the suspects are usually long gone by the time that the victim realizes that a theft occurred.

In most instances, the theft suspects work with several other individuals, travel in multiple vehicles, and quickly leave the area after they have stolen from the victims. The suspects then head to another store where they attempt to make fraudulent purchases using the victim’s credit and debit cards.

OPD offers the following tips to help protect shoppers from becoming a victim of these kinds of thefts:

  • Do not let strangers in your personal space.
  • Keep your purse or wallet close to you instead of leaving it in the cart.
  • If you believe that you are being targeted by a distraction thief, yell or make a lot of noise to attract attention.

On its Facebook webpage, the Ocala Police Department stated, “If you feel someone is acting suspiciously as you shop, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement immediately. We’re here for you.”