West Hartford PD: Woman robbed in Whole Foods parking lot

West Hartford Police are issuing a warning for distracted style thefts after a woman was robbed in a Whole Foods parking lot.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:15 PM EDT
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - West Hartford Police are issuing a warning for distracted style thefts after a woman was robbed in a Whole Foods parking lot.

Police were called to the Whole Foods Parking lot on 340 North Main Street around 1:07 pm on Tuesday.

A 64-year-old woman was getting ready to leave when a man on the passenger’s side of her vehicle got her attention.

She got out of the car and walked to her passenger’s side to see what the man needed. He held up a lug nut and told her it fell off her car, police say.

The woman told police the man spoke with a heavy accent.

While she was talking to the man, a woman pushing a cart leaned into her open driver’s side door and took her wallet from her purse.

The victim asked what the woman was doing, but she just kept walking. The man then took off towards North Main Street.

Police say the male suspect was short with black hair. He was wearing a surgical mask, a blue shirt with white stripes and jean shorts.

Police say the female suspect was short, petit, and wore her black hair in a ponytail. She was also wearing a surgical mask and a long beige tunic, police say.

Dominick Violante said, “I think in general we’re a trusting society, so when people come up to us and start talking to us a lot of people will engage in conversation.”

Violante has worked in law enforcement for 35 years, now he works to help others gain self-defense skills at the Avon Kempo and Aikido Academy.

“If you’re lured away from your car, you should take your purse and your keys with you when you get out of the vehicle,” said Violante.

He says there are other distraction tricks thieves use that you should be aware of. “Someone putting a t-shirt rapped around your windshield wiper and you get out of your vehicle to see this and when you do your car is stolen.”

West Hartford Police released tips on how to avoid this type of robbery.

In a Facebook post they wrote:

-Generally, distraction thieves are well-dressed and target elderly victims and retail businesses

-As in this case and similar cases, the suspects work in pairs and may wait for you to enter your vehicle and then the distracter will lure you out either trying to report a problem they have or an issue with your vehicle (flat tire, lug nut, etc.)

-Be aware of your surroundings and be wary of strangers

-If you exit your vehicle to speak with someone, lock and close your vehicle doors behind you

-Place valuables (purse, wallet, etc.) in a hidden area in your vehicle and if your purse has a zipper utilize it

-Park in a well-lit and visible area (keep in mind where exterior cameras may be located on nearby buildings)

-Immediately report any suspicious behavior to the police