Cash machine users reminded to stay vigilant following reports of distraction thefts
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Cash machine users are reminded to stay vigilant following a series of distraction thefts across Kent.
Officers are investigating numerous reports where pensioners and other members of the public have been targeted after inserting their bank card into ATMs.
In each case, the victims have been approached by a person who often states the machine is not working.
While they are distracted, it is alleged a second person steals their bank card, leaving the victim to believe it has been retained inside the cash machine.
In the most recent incidents on Wednesday 4 May 2022 three cards were stolen while the owners were distracted at ATMs in Princes Avenue, Chatham,Knight Road, Rochester and King Street, Gravesend.
On 25 April cash machine users were also targeted in Birling Avenue, Gillingham and Rainham Shopping Centre.
A quantity of cash was later stolen from one of the victims' accounts.
Detective Inspector Pete Smith said: ‘These offences are being carried out by a group of people who will often target a specific area for a few hours, before moving on to another location. ‘They usually work in pairs and will choose victims who appear elderly or vulnerable. ‘I would urge anybody using an ATM, particularly those situated outside banks and other premises, to take care nobody is close enough to watch them as they enter their PIN. ‘On no account speak to a stranger while withdrawing cash and, if you believe you are being targeted by a suspected thief, phone 999 immediately.’ Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should contact Kent Police on 01634 792209 quoting 46/78008/22. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or by using the online form on their website here.
In connection with the ongoing investigation, two women aged 30 and 32 years old and a 37-year-old man, all from London, were arrested on suspicion of theft. They are currently on bail until 13 June pending further investigation.