LOCALS need to be alert to stop opportunistic thieves, says South Metropolitan Community Engagement Unit Sergeant Paul Trimble.
Sgt Trimble said handbag and purse theft was common all year round, but shoppers should be extra vigilant during the Christmas period.
‘It’s at this time of year we see an increase in stealing, especially of handbags and purses,’ he said. ‘Offenders use distraction techniques to steal purses and handbags, usually by bumping or brushing past their victim.
‘They will often work in pairs, with one distracting the victim by dropping items onto the floor and when the victim stops to help, the other offender removes belongings from the victim’s bag.’
Police are urging shoppers to remember to keep a close eye on their handbags and to ensure they were not left unattended or unzipped.
Shoppers should not carry their PIN numbers in their bag and they should download the Find My Phone App in case their phones are stolen. Contact police on 131 444 to report suspicious behaviour.