LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects involved in multiple forgery cases targeting older women.
“It’s a big deal and we need to get it stopped as soon as we can,” Lt. Leath McClure said. “Our forgery and theft departments are working around the clock. We’re working with other agencies to try to get these folks identified so we can get get them detained.”
The suspects are accused of targeting women in their 70s by distracting them while shopping and then stealing the victims’ wallets. Police believe at least six separate cases in Lubbock may be connected to an organized operation.
“[The victims] are being taken advantage of,” Lt. McClure said. “They’re striking up a conversation with what they feel is an innocent conversation. They’re taking their attention away from their purse, what they’re paying attention to, and then the other person comes and takes the wallet.”
Police say the group hit another store Monday afternoon, and from the photos provided by police, it happened at a Market Street. The vehicle they were in is believed to be a white Honda HRV with no front license plate.
Investigators say within the hour the suspects are using the victims’ debit or credit cards to purchase mostly gift cards in various amounts. Some purchases have been several thousand dollars, according to police.
“It varies by how many cards they have stolen from an individual and how many times that they can get away with running it,” Crime Analyst Bailea Coffel said. “They will run it as much as they can. They will get as many gift cards as they can out of that one stolen credit card or debit card.”
These crimes have been reported at various Lubbock stores including United Supermarkets, Costco, CVS, Food King and Home Depot.
Investigators believe the suspects have European accents. Police are not only asking for the public’s help in identifying these suspects, but are also asking other people who believe they may be a victim of these crimes to come forward. Police are asking for any information that can help solve these cases, especially as they take advantage of wearing face masks.
“There’s always something else that that can help identify the suspects, even with the mask doesn’t make it impossible,” Coffel said. “For instance, we had the accent, which is an identifying feature. Regardless of the mask, that’s something that’s that’s notable.”
The suspects have also been linked to similar cases in Amarillo and Wichita Falls.
“We are we’re in contact with multiple agencies and by doing that, we’re able to get significantly more information about these suspects than if we just relied on our own devices,” Coffel said. “We really are utilizing every resource that we have in order to to catch these these people and to help these victims.”
Charges could be debit, credit card abuse, theft but those charges could be enhanced.
LPD encourages citizens to be alert, not get distracted and keep your belongings in your sight at all times when shopping. If possible, only carry what’s necessary to purchase your items rather than carry a purse. If you need to carry a bag, make sure it is on your body or secured in other ways.
To contact Lubbock Police, click here.