MIDLOTHIAN – Pay attention this holiday season and, especially at stores where local police have already identified a potential problem.
The Midlothian Police Department recently reported on their FB page that they have had reports that the local Walmart has seen several fraud cases.
Walmart shoppers were warned to be vigilant when shopping at that store due to recent fraud offenses over the past months.
Police said suspects are mainly preying on older victims and watching as they use a debit card PIN in the store’s self-checkout line. The victim is then distracted by the suspect; for example, the suspect drops money at the victim’s feet. When the victim responds, the suspect steals and uses their debit card.
Midlothian Asst. Police Chief Scott Brown said the department has put out regional bulletins on the Walmart cases and confirmed this group has also hit stores in other cities.
“We have had our patrol staff conduct a “close patrol” at the location. This is fairly common practice when we have any unusually high criminal activity; we like to increase our visible presence in the area,” Smith said.
The suspects are said to have heavy European accents, possibly Romanian, according to Midlothian police.
Police also report the suspects could be driving a red Ford F-150, 1997-2003 model, with a spare tire in the bed. The truck has no front license plate and has been seen parked on the outer edge of the parking lot.
The suspects arrive in large groups and work together to target the victims.
With the extra patrol at the Walmart, there have also been questions about other areas in Midlothian where police keep a close watch.
Brown said, “Our patrol officers are expected to do Business Checks at our retail locations as part of their daily duties. Most officers like to stop and do their reports in those areas.”
He added that many retailers hire officers to be present in their stores around the holidays, “so you will likely see more of our staff at our retail locations over the next few weeks.”
Ulta Thefts in Midlothian
An update on the Ulta cases in Midlothian, Byron Stewart, Support Service Commander, Midlothian Police Department, explained, “On the Ulta cases, we have a black male and female committing a theft and at the same time a Hispanic female and Hispanic male who also committed a theft.”
Stewart said these cases are listed as separate offenses, and the police department does have video.
“It appears these suspects are out of Dallas,” Stewart added. “CID feels putting a squad car close to Ulta and the shoe store could be a deterrent. Since the suspects are not likely Midlothian residents, they may not be aware of the car.”
Stewart also said the loss prevention officer for Ulta is an ex-Dallas Police Officer and will usually contact Midlothian PD if he sees the same suspects at other stores.