Police: Beware of pickpockets in Center City Phila.
CENTER CITY - March 7, 2012 (WPVI) -- Recently, pockets have been picked at the Art Museum, coffee shops, upscale hotels, outside the Flower Show, and along crowded Center City streets.
9th District officers have identified a trio, two men and a woman (PHOTO). 46-year-old Brian Lowery has been arrested and Gregory Jeffries is wanted. If you know his whereabouts, police would love a call. The lone female is considered a person of interest.
Police say pros can lift your wallet and use credit cards before you notice anything is missing.
"They'll go right to a store within 15 or 20 minutes and run anywhere from $300 to $10,000 on your credit cards," said Philadelphia Police Captain Daniel MacDonald
MacDonald says a good pickpocket knows how to distract a victim, or a mark. In this surveillance video the woman getting on the elevator is the mark.
Police believe the video shows a well-dressed Jeffries getting on board and Lowery is the man in the red cap. He is the stall. His role is to stall and distract the victim. In the video he falters as he exits, the victim is focused on helping him, oblivious her wallet is being lifted out of her handbag.
She departs still worried about the nice man with difficulties.
In a different surveillance tape showing a different elevator, police say the same pair, enacts the same scenario. This time the target of the stall and lift the gentleman in the red sweater vest. Look carefully and you can see the hand move in on the gentleman's wallet.
On the streets of Center City Wednesday, there is awareness that pick pockets are about and that pocket books should be held tightly.
"I usually have my pocketbook over my shoulder with my arm on it. I'm aware of what goes on in the city and I'm not letting anyone pickpocket me," said Nicole Driver of Southwest Philadelphia.
McDonald says the best advice is to be aware,
"If you're walking down the street texting and looking up every 8 to 10 seconds to make sure you don't bump into anybody, you're going to get marked. Somebody's going to say, 'I got somebody easy.'"
philadelphia, pennsylvania, theft, local/state, john rawlins
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