High-class robbery

A police spokesman has revealed that officers now believe that a well-dressed woman in her fifties, who robbed several stores in Évora and Portimão using photocopies of stolen cheques, is the same woman responsible for a string of earlier shopping ‘sprees’ in Setúbal.

The woman is believed to be responsible for robbing a total of eight stores. The first was in Setúbal, where she paid for goods in a crystal shop using what appeared to be a previously signed cheque, merely filling in the amount requested, which amounted to more than 300 euros. A shop assistant said: “The woman had a very fine and elegant manner and nothing about her behaviour raised suspicions.”

Even though the cheque’s title-bearer was a man and the shopper was a woman, this also failed to raise the alarm because, according to staff, “this is far from unusual when dealing with a couple”. It was only much later, when the deposit was made, that bank workers noticed that the cheque was a worthless photocopy.

The following day, the woman apparently visited a shoe shop in the city’s Avenida Luísa Todi where she employed the same technique to purchase goods worth 400 euros. Again the woman was described as extremely self-possessed and she even asked the shop assistant to carry her purchases to the car.

The police spokesman explained that the woman has been using various photocopied cheques, but the original appears to be a legitimate cheque, apparently stolen. The number of the document, the account number and the title-bearer are always the same. Most of the shops targeted by the thief so far have been high-class stores catering to women’s items. While in Portimão, she conned four stores in the city’s Modelo shopping centre and even had a manicure. In some of the stores, a young man accompanied her, also apparently acting as her driver.