Arlington Heights police here have been ten thefts at various Arlington Heights “pay first” restaurants involving purses left hanging on or placed under the seats. The crimes have been reported between September 1, 2012 and September 18, 2012. The purses are not just out of view but they are often left open with the victim’s wallet exposed. Arlington Heights police are reminding citizens that THIS IS AN EASY TARGET. The offenders may sit at an adjacent table or walk by waiting until you are distracted before removing the wallet. After leaving the restaurant, the offender will begin charging purchases to your credit cards or withdraw funds from your bank account. They know they have time because the victim has already paid for the food and will not notice the theft until after eating or attempting to make another purchase somewhere else. You should immediately cancel all exposed financial accounts after discovering the theft to prevent further loss.
There was over $11,000 in fraudulent charges and $11,000 in fraudulent bank withdrawals as a result of the ten thefts. There was an additional $2,500 in charges denied. THESE ARE AVOIDABLE LOSES. Police remind citizens they still will have the inconvenience getting a new drivers license, new credit/debit cards, family pictures and other important financial documents.
• Keep purse in view. Use a purse secured hook to hang the bag from the edge of the table.
• Close the purse.
• Try to sit with your back against a wall and avoid sitting adjacent to high traffic areas like the entrance/exit or drink/condiment stations.
• If you see an easy target – let them know.
• Use similar prevention measures when shopping with a cart.