The following alert was provided by the SPVM Police Station 9 (514-280-0409).
Public alert: Preventing thefts of cash or bank drafts
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM or Montreal Police Department) is asking you to be alert when leaving banks, currency exchange establishments or stores after withdrawing money or having bank drafts made.
A group made up of three to four perpetrators in your neighbourhood has been watching and observing the comings and goings of customers at these locations. They follow the victims to their vehicles. One of the perpetrators distracts the victim, while another steals the victim’s handbag or briefcase.
The perpetrator usually approaches the victims once they have unlocked their car door and placed their personal belongings inside the vehicle. The perpetrator generally tells the victim: “You dropped some money on the ground,” “Your coat or overcoat is stained,” “Could you tell me how to get to the nearest hospital?” The perpetrator’s accomplices then take advantage of the victims’ distraction in order to steal their money.
In some instances, the perpetrators puncture one of the victim’s car tires while he or she is making a withdrawal. The victim then has to stop a few blocks away, which is when the perpetrators offer to help and then steal the victim’s money.
Here are some tips to prevent you from becoming a victim of this type of theft:
Keep a close eye on your surroundings when you are withdrawing money from an ATM to make sure that you are not being watched by someone or followed when you leave.
Beware of strangers approaching you.
Get into the habit of unlocking your car door only on the driver’s side to prevent any perpetrators from opening other car doors.
If you get a flat tire, call a tow-truck company.
Call 911 immediately if you are the victim of theft or witnessed such an incident. OR
Go to the nearest police station to report the incident you were a victim of.
Don’t forget to report your stolen bank, ID or credit cards to the appropriate issuers.
If you have any information to report, you can also provide it anonymously and confidentially to Info-Crime Montreal at 514 393-1133.