Police have released CCTV of a woman’s mobile phone being stolen in just 10 seconds to highlight the distraction techniques currently being used by thieves.
The victim had the device pinched from a table in a McDonald’s restaurant by a man who distracted her simply by asking her to sign a piece of paper.
The footage shows the crook first approaching a man and woman at the fast food branch in Nottingham city center and engaging in conversation with them both.
He goes on to ask the unsuspecting victim to look at and sign the piece of A4 paper, using the sheet to cover her mobile phone which was on the table.
He then uses the same hand that is holding the paper to steal her device which was underneath before making his escape.
Nottinghamshire Police said the force had released the footage in a bid to raise awareness of tactics being used by criminals.
The thief struck at the branch on Milton Street before heading towards the Victoria Centre at 12.15pm on October 20.
Video grab as police investigating the theft of a mobile phone have released CCTV footage of the incident. (Nottinghamshire Police via SWNS)
PC John Searston said: “We’d like to identify the man featured in the footage and would ask anyone who recognizes him to please get in touch.
“We would also like to hear from anyone who may have been approached in similar circumstances.
“Having your phone stolen is an immensely upsetting experience and we are doing everything we can to bring offenders to justice.
“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else and so are encouraging people to remain vigilant while they’re out and about and to follow some simple but effective tips to mitigate the risks of their phone being stolen.
“We’d urge people to report any suspicious behavior to us directly, or venue staff, to ensure we can act upon it.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 300 of October 20, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The force also issued the following crime prevention tips:
- When possible, keep your phone out of sight in public areas.
- Try to ensure a password or pin code lock is enabled on your phone.
- When you leave a table/area, even for a short time, always take your phone with you.
Never leave it unattended.
- If a stranger asks to use your phone, don’t hand your device over to them. Instead, action any request you’re happy to facilitate yourself (for example, entering a number into your phone or making a phone call on the person’s behalf).
- Always stay alert when using your mobile phone and be aware of your surroundings.
- If you lose or have your phone stolen, call your network provider and get the phone blocked as soon as possible.
*Set up a tracking app on your phone so you can see where it is from another device in the event of it being lost or stolen. The iPhone has find my phone, and for android phones there is android device manager.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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