Firstly, I would like to thank your correspondent who took time (last week) to write to you concerning the theft of a handbag at Aldi Supermarket in Lagoa. The letter serves as an excellent reminder regarding the need to keep possessions under careful watch in public areas.
Clearly your correspondent took all the correct actions and working with Aldi staff, a good minded citizen and the police, the handbag was recovered shortly afterwards, albeit without the cash and credit cards.
Unfortunately this type of crime is not uncommon in supermarket car parks and is known as “distraction” crime. Criminals are quite adept at developing scenarios (modus operandi) which appear realistic and prey on the victim’s goodwill and the fact they are not expecting the situation to happen.
Other examples brought to Safe Communities Algarve’s attention are where the driver of a parked car is asked for water and a second culprit steals an item whilst the driver is distracted. Other examples involve a culprit deflating a tyre of a vehicle. One of the culprits working in pairs then offers to help the owner change the wheel, whilst the second culprit steals goods from the interior of the vehicle.
Another example is where leaflets are left under the rear windscreen wiper. The driver who is about to drive off notices this in the rear view mirror, gets out of the car to remove the leaflet and whilst they do so the culprit steals a handbag from the passenger seat.
Unfortunately in the Algarve, as far as I am aware, only one supermarket (Apolónia in Almancil) has security patrols in their car parks. I believe more should do so. Certainly I am coming across more supermarket car parks where beggars are hanging around and have reported this to supermarket security staff.
President, Safe Communities Algarve