Elderly woman is latest victim of Mentor theft group, uses distraction techniques to steal

MENTOR - An elderly woman in Mentor is the most recent victim of a credit card thief after her purse was stolen while she was shopping. Her credit card was used in thousands of dollars worth of purchases.

She's not alone. Reports of the same type of crime are coming from all over Greater Cleveland. 

According to police, she was shopping when a man approached her and asked her about an outfit for his girlfriend. She answered his questions and was friendly with him. But what she didn't realize was while she was answering his questions, an accomplice went into her purse and grabbed her wallet, Mentor police said. 

"They'll turn around and go on a shopping spree for large value items they'll turn around and sell," Mentor Police Lt. Mike Majernik said. "There are some that travel the country doing this."

According to police, the crew charged thousands of dollars on one of her cards, spending more than $6,000 at one store. 

"There should be red flags, unfortunately they don't bother to look at the credit card or ask for ID, which would help prevent this stuff," Lt. Majernik said. 

News 5 reached out to the stores where this happened to see if they're changing policies, but they declined to comment. Mentor police told News 5 they encourage retail locations to take simple security measures to prevent cases like this one. 

As for what you can do to protect your own wallet? 

"If anything ever feels a little bit uncomfortable, a little strange, out of the ordinary, be cognizant of what's going on. Make sure there's not somebody right behind you in a store," he said. 

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