Sep 27 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
BANK customers are being warned about a dramatic new form of pickpocketing in Brent that had only been seen in other parts of London until now.
Victims are targeted as they leave with a large amount of cash and are covered in ink or powder or another substance which damages clothing by a crook who lays in wait.
Accomplices who hang around separately nearby then offer help to clean the unsuspecting victim up as cover for taking the money from their pockets.
On September 17 at 10.15am outside Boots in High Road, Wembley, a 47-year-old man had withdrawn a large amount of money at a building society when a suspect approached him from behind and said there was something all over this jacket.
The passer-by offered to wipe the substance away and walked off towards Park Lane. The victim then noticed the money was missing from his jacket pocket,
The suspect is described as an Arabic or North African male, 5ft 8in, approximately 36 years old and with short cropped hair, a jacket and a rucksack.
Officers said a second theft was committed by a team of suspects, both men and women of varying ethnic groups and ages on Friday, September 20, in Kingsbury Road, Kingsbury, who selected a bank, maintained surveillance of members of public entering and leaving the venue and typically targeted elderly victims who they had seen or heard withdrawing more than £1,000 in cash.
Detective Superintendent Simon Rose, of Brent Police, said: “Enquiries and trawling of CCTV are ongoing to try to identify the suspects for the two Brent offences and we are in contact with other boroughs where this has happened but prevention is better then cure.
“Please be aware, and if taking out large sums of money, do not keep it in the pockets of outer clothing.”