Crime

Thieves get woman’s PIN, steal wallet

Police say "significant" amount of money stolen

Images from the pharmacy security camera.   Halifax Regional Police

Police say three thieves targeted a 79-year-old woman at a pharmacy in Bedford and stole her wallet as she walked by them.

The theft happened on Jan. 27 at an undisclosed store.

The story became public Wednesday when Halifax Regional Police released photos of the three suspects and asked for help in tracking them down.

The male suspects are approximately 25 and 30 years old. The third suspect is a woman believed to be around 35.

Police say the suspects crowded the 79-year-old woman. While she was making her purchase, they watched her enter her PIN.

As she was leaving the store, one of the two men walked ahead of her and blocked her exit. She pushed by him and got into her car.

It was then, police say, she realized her wallet had been stolen.

She went back inside and couldn’t find her wallet, so she contacted the police. She called her bank and they told her several withdrawals had taken place. Police say she lost a “significant” amount of money.

Const. Dianne Penfound says crimes like this aren’t common and these perpetrators were “brash.”

“They went into her purse and they were obviously quite good,” she said.

Police encourage people to keep debit or credit screens covered and to use secure PIN codes.

“If someone is standing too close to you, when you are using a machine, then ask them to stand back,” said Penfound.

In 2016 there were over 11,000 non-vehicular thefts reported in Nova Scotia. Justice Canada’s website says financial crimes by strangers are the greatest area of vulnerability for seniors.

Police want to hear from anyone who might know the suspects or have any information about the crime. Tips can be sent via www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or by calling 1-800-222-847.

Victims of theft or fraud are encouraged to visit Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre.