Woman robbed as thieves in car pretend to ask for directions

A female pedestrian fell victim to a distraction theft after stopping to aid two women with directions to a nearby hospital.

The woman was walking along Portobello Road in Hill Top, West Bromwich when a blue Ford Focus pulled up alongside her, and a rear seat passenger, wearing a pale headscarf, called out to ask for directions.
After receiving the directions, the woman and a friend climbed out of the car and began fawning over the pedestrian, thanking her profusely while slipping items of jewellery onto her wrists and around her neck.

While doing so they sneakily removed the confused woman's own necklace and bracelet and pocketed them, with the woman not even noticing they had gone until she returned home later that day.

The incident, which took place on Tuesday March 8 at around 3.15pm, was caught on a CCTV camera attached to a nearby home, and when the homeowner spotted what was happening he rushed out to help, sending the women and their two male accomplices speeding off.

A spokesperson from West Midlands police said that this type of robbery was becoming more frequent, with offenders distracting and confusing their victims before robbing them.

Police Constable Hannah Meredith from Sandwell Police commented: "These people are very cunning in the way they operate and we would urge people to be wary about anyone who is overfriendly in these type of circumstances.

"They use sleight of hand and will check pockets without the victim knowing.

"The car, although not uncommon, does have hubcaps missing which makes it slightly distinctive but unfortunately does not have a registered keeper, so I would ask anyone with information on the car to contact us. The registration number displayed was W595 NUY."

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