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The two men are believed to be working together and targeting mobility shops

Mobility retailers across the UK and particularly in the South East are being warned to be on the lookout for two male thieves targeting dealers in the sector after successfully emptying the till of Lifestyle & Mobility’s Southend store.

The theft took place on the 13th of December 2019.

Whilst not confirmed yet if the two men are working together, Darren Macey, Business Development Manager of Lifestyle and Mobility, informed THIIS that he is convinced the two men in the CCTV stills were working together, with the man pictured in the hat scoping out the mobility shop and passing on the information to the second man who carried out the theft.

Speaking with Darren, he described the events that led up to the robbery: “The man in the hat walked in, went down one of the isles, picked up a product then went to the counter and asked for a refund.

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“When asked for a receipt, he said he didn’t have one. When asked who served him, he looked down at the business cards on the counter and just read out a name. Unfortunately for him, it was the name of the man who he was talking to!”

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The first man attempted to have Lifestyle and Mobility refund one of its own products whilst scoping out the store

According to Darren, the chancer then said another employee’s name and a date which he was served, however, again the story didn’t add up as he was told that particular staff member did not work on that day.

“At that point, he put down the product and left,” he added.

Convinced that he was only interested in getting an opportunity to see how the store runs and also to get a good look at the counter, the next man seen in the CCTV still slipped in on another day when a member of staff was busy with a customer in the shop, walked behind the counter, opened the till, grabbed the cash and left.

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The second man walked behind Lifestyle and Mobility’s counter and cleaned out the till

Fortunately for Lifestyle and Mobility, the company did not have much cash in till at the time, minimising the amount taken.

“Mobility retailers are really vulnerable to this kind of theft,” emphasised Darren.

“Unlike other retailers, we often do not stand behind the counter all the time because so much of what we do involves spending time working with customers in the branch. It means for men like this, there is an opportunity.

“It is a good reminder to other retailers to remain vigilant and, importantly, make sure they are not carrying large amounts of cash in their registers and are moving money into safes.”

Easy Mobility Services in the South East also confirmed that the same man in the hat had entered two of its retail stores.

Working in Easy Mobility Services’ Chelmsford store, Nicky Berry explained her encounter with the man: “He has been in both our Clacton store and Chelmsford store and it’s the same MO. Most recently, he came into our Chelmsford store whilst we were busy dealing with something and picked up a walking stick from a display case. He has then made his way to the counter and asked for a refund, saying he had purchased it from us previously.

“We do not refund without a receipt and I had a feeling that something was dodgy as he wasn’t our usual type of customer and the story didn’t really add up, so I challenged him and said I’ll get the manager. As I went to get the manager, he put the stick down and walked out.”

According to Nicky, the suspected thief was in the company’s Chelmsford store in the afternoon of the 17th December, with the same individual attempting the same fraud on the 31st October in the company’s Clacton store.

“When I have checked back on our CCTV, you can see him looking across at me in the store whilst I was on the telephone to a customer,” she continued.

“I turned to acknowledge him to say I’ll be with him in a moment. The CCTV shows him watching me as I turn around to say goodbye to the customer and put the phone down. As I do, he picks up the walking stick off the shelf before coming to ask for the refund.”

Unlike Lifestyle and Mobility, the other individual in the imagery that walked behind the counter and grabbed the cash did not appear, however, as Nicky pointed out, Easy Mobility Services do not have tills on the desks.

“If we did have our tills on the counter, who knows if an attempt would have been made,” she added.

With Darren sending Nicky the CCTV stills, the two confirmed that the man in the hat was the same individual and was seen wearing the same jacket in both retailers’ CCTV footage.

All retailers in the area are being warned to be wary, with the pair likely to make similar attempts in other mobility stores in the region.

It is not the first time in 2019 that mobility retailers have been the victim of organised fraudulent and illegal activity, with the ‘Smarti Scammer’ carrying out a chargeback fraud across multiple retailers earlier in the year.

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We respect your privacy BarnettNewsroomRetailer NewsTrade NewsChelmsford,Clacton,Darren Macey,Easy Mobility Services,lifestyle and mobility,Mobility retail,mobility retailer,Nicky Berry,robbery,scam,south east,Southend,thievesMobility retailers across the UK and particularly in the South East are being warned to be on the lookout for two male thieves targeting dealers in the sector after successfully emptying the till of Lifestyle & Mobility’s Southend store.The theft took place on the 13th of December 2019.Whilst not...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals