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Watch Your Pockets

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – ‘Tis the season to be merry. Sadly, ’tis also the season of pickpockets.

Beware of the fast grab!

Beware of the fast grab!

Township residents will be among those joining thousands of other shoppers at stores across the Delaware Valley during the next two weekends, busily looking to fulfill their holiday gift lists. But they shouldn’t be too busy to guard against having their wallets lifted or purses snatched, police of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) warn.

Pick-pocketing increases during the holiday season because of increased crowds, SEPTA’s community affairs officers note. Not only do people carry more cash, large crowds give a pickpocket the opportunity and excuse to bump into shoppers and, in the process, relieve them of valuables. The transit police offer eight suggestions to keep shoppers safer:

  1. Don’t flash your cash. Whenever possible, avoid showing how much money you’re carrying or where you’re keeping it.
  2. Pickpockets target people in crowds. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, be alert while waiting.
  3. Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket.
  4. Don’t carry a long-strap pocketbook over your shoulder. If possible, wear it under your coat.
  5. Avoid overloading yourself with packages. Don’t allow yourself to become so burdened down with packages that you become a tempting target.
  6. Keep your purse, shopping bag, backpack, or packages in your lap, on your arm, or between your feet. Don’t leave them by themselves on an empty seat.
  7. Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
  8. Keep keys readily available in your pockets to prevent fumbling when you arrive at your car or home.

SEPTA’s Bus Route 93, which travels hourly along Ridge Pike – from the Norristown (PA) Transportation Center, through Lower Pottsgrove, to the Montgomery County Community College campus in Pottstown and then returns – has expanded its schedule on Sunday and holiday nights. Its Route 139 runs hourly between the Philadelphia Premium Outlets at the Sanatoga interchange of U.S. Route 422 and the shopping mall transit center in King of Prussia.

Editor’s addendum, Dec. 12, 2008:

Watch a group of three pick-pockets in action, all working on the same unsuspecting victim. This 1:44 police surveillance video was published Monday (Dec. 8, 2008) by The Oklahoman newspaper, Oklahoma City OK.

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Video from Brightcove via VodPod
Photo from leehigginbotham.wordpress.com

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