Christmas is now less than two weeks away, and the shopping rush is only getting more chaotic as desired products go on sale at various St. George shopping centers.

This unfortunately doesn’t just apply to the average resident looking to buy their loved ones a gift for the holidays. It also applies to criminals looking to take advantage of you and your generosity when you’re out shopping.

Public Information Officer Tiffany Mitchell from the St. George Police Department posted a video on the SGPD Facebook page going into the consequences of carelessness in the shopping aisle.

Officer Mitchell said, “So what you’re having is you’re at your favorite store, you’ve been there hundreds of times, feel very comfortable there. So, when someone comes up to you, and they tap you on the shoulder, and they ask you for assistance, you feel comfortable turning your back on your bag that has your wallet in there, and you’re helping someone find whatever they need.”

The unaware shopper may be playing the good Samaritan for the random passerby, but Officer Mitchell said this is nothing more than a ruse to get straight to your money.

Officer Mitchell said, “What you may not understand is that person is distracting you so a second person can steal your wallet. They go and spend your money as fast as they can, and then they’re out of there and they go do it somewhere else. We don’t want this to happen.”

While this may seem like an isolated incident, Officer Mitchell warned residents this kind of crime could become a trend in the criminal underworld if St. George is deemed an easy target.

Officer Mitchell said, “Here’s the thing. These criminal organizations, they talk to each other, they communicate, they’re well equipped in what they do. If they feel like a city is a safe and easy target, they’re going to come here and they’re going to target it because we’re easy. We don’t want that.”

Officer Mitchell advised potential shoppers to leave the big bag or purse at home, and just bring the one thing you need. Your method of payment.

For instance, just take your license and debit card if you can. That way, the thieves don’t have a potential target, and your bank account stays safe and secure.

Officer Mitchell ended her message with a word of warning to be aware of one’s surroundings in a crowded shopping environment. You never know who may think you're an easy mark.


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