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Portsmouth and Portland, Maine police are looking for these two suspects who have allegedly been stealing wallets and purses from unassuming elderly customers in both communities. (Courtesy of Portsmouth Police Department)

Pair sought for thefts from elderly shoppers in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH - Police are searching for two people who stole a wallet from an elderly woman at Ocean State Job Lot on Jan. 11.

According to police, an 83-year-old woman reported that her wallet had been stolen, and within an hour of the theft, several fraudulent transactions exceeding $5,000 had been posted to her accounts, said police.

Police said further investigation revealed that the victim had been approached by a black woman while shopping in the store. The victim reported that the woman had engaged her in a "brief and random" conversation.

The woman was identified by surveillance and was subsequently identified at a nearby store where one of the fraudulent transactions occurred, according to police.

The woman is believed to have been accompanied by a black man, whose image was also captured by surveillance.

Police are working with Portland, Maine, police and Greenland police to locate the pair.

Portsmouth police said the Portland Police Department took a similar report involving the same culprits and similar actions.

Police say the pair have consistently targeted elderly women who are shopping by themselves, approaching and engaging the patrons in random conversation to distract them while taking the wallet or purse from the carriage.

Police said information obtained during their investigation shows the thieves often complete these acts near main roadways or highways and in areas of condensed commercial businesses.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 610-7613.


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