Conned: Trolley ruse sees pensioner robbed of thousands

2011-09-02 00:00

A 73-YEAR-OLD woman was stunned when she discovered she had been robbed of her purse while shopping at Pick n Pay in Shelly Centre last Friday afternoon.

Lindy Hartley of Trafalgar said she was the only person in the aisle stocked with detergents when two women “crashed their trolley” into hers. “One of the women told me that the wheels on her trolley were faulty,” she said.

Hartley added that while she and the woman bent down slightly to check the wheels, her (Hartley’s) bag fell off her shoulder onto the floor.

“There seemed to be nothing wrong with the wheels. As soon as I got up, the women dashed out of the aisle,” said Hartley. She then saw that her bag was open and her purse, filled with R7 000 cash, was missing. “I realised that the two women had created a diversion so that they could steal my wallet.”

Hartley, traumatised by the ordeal, approached the store manager only to find that another customer had also been robbed. “One of the staff said ‘another customer was robbed’,” she said. Hartley said she did not always carry such a substantial amount of cash on her, but she had to pay a building contractor after she was done with her shopping.

“I withdrew money at a bank in Margate so I doubt the women had followed me from there,” she said.

Police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid said a theft case was being investigated by Sergeant Elsabe Theunissen from Port Shepstone SAPF. “When withdrawing money from the bank and when shopping, people should be alert at all times as perpetrators could be watching,” said Wiid.

Regional manager for Pick n Pay KZN, Ashley Volmink, said the store was aware of the incident and assisted the customer as best they could at the time. “Management went to the extent of phoning certain banks in order to stop the customer’s credit cards,” said Volmink.

The CCTV camera footage covered only the entrance of the store and other strategic positions and he said it was unfortunate that the customer had experienced such an incident. “Since then, we have increased security awareness in the store. Guards have been asked to be extra vigilant,” he said.

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