Voice of the consumer: Pickpocketing is alive and well

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette, but is currently on maternity leave spending time with her first child! Along with columns penned in advance of her leave, you'll hear from guest writers, including KKTV’s Don Ward and Dianne Derby and retired KKTV anchor Betty Sexton.

Previous columns can be found here.

When you think of pickpockets, you probably picture a ragtag band of misfits straight out of a Charles Dickens novel. But several recent calls to our newsroom prove pickpocketing is alive and well.

The difference between crooks today and the thieves of yesteryear is these new criminals aren’t just after the cash in your wallet. They’ve got their eyes on your bank account. They know how to get it, and they do it fast.

Sandra Miarecki was eating lunch recently at a restaurant in the Promenade Shops at Briargate when she was targeted by pickpockets. She says a man in the restaurant created a distraction while a woman stole her wallet from her purse.

Miarecki went to pay for her meal about 20 minutes later and realized her wallet was gone. Before she could call the bank to cancel her credit cards, the fraud alerts were buzzing on her phone. “The text messages were coming in, fraud, fraud, fraud, $1,500 at a time,” Sandra told us.

The thieves had taken Sandra’s credit and debit cards and were frantically draining her accounts. They were buying gift cards, going through the self-checkout lines at a local supermarket where IDs are not required to make purchases less than $2,000. They charged $1,500 dollars at a time, every few minutes. By the time Sandra’s cards were deactivated minutes later, they had charged more than $10,000.

Click here to read the full column on gazette.com.