Thieves take advantage of holiday distractions

Keep an eye on your belongings when you're finishing up that last-minute shopping.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – It’s a problem all year round, but especially during the holidays when distractions are high: somebody distracts a shopper and then does a little shopping themselves. It’s a fairly common occurrence.

Lincoln Police Officer Jason Hellmuth explains the process: “Generally what happens is the people, whether it be a large group of three, or it could be just one person, will distract you in some way.”

Once they have your eyes elsewhere, someone can take the opportunity to make off with credit cards, cash, or anything else. The holidays can make us all bigger targets than usual for that sort of loss.

“It’s easy to be distracted”, says Hellmuth. “There’s a lot of things that are on our mind during this time of the year; the holiday season always is a busy time for everyone.”

Ways to combat that are to stay alert, and to shrink the window of opportunity. Keep your belongings close. Move your wallet to a front pocket. Keep your purse or bag zipped, and hold onto them rather than leaving them in the cart. Not only does that make it harder to get to, but it adds steps for bad actors. “The bad guy is always short on time in this type of situation”, says Hellmuth.

If the worst does happen, report it right away while the details are still fresh in your mind. According to Officer Hellmuth, every detail matters. “Was it one person, was it two people? A physical description of who they are, what they sound like, what they’re wearing, what they look like is always very important and that helps us to narrow down any possible suspects.”

If you do that, you could save someone else from having a similar problem, and maybe even get your stolen items back if luck is on your side.

Categories: News