It’s like taking candy from a baby. Parents running errands with young children are being targeted by heartless crooks in San Francisco.
In at least three incidents since last weekend, preoccupied parents have had their property swiped by opportunistic robbers who are confident they can get away with it, police said.
“What was I going to do, give chase with the baby?” said one mom named Jen, who declined to provide her last name.
Jen said a pickpocket swiped her wallet Monday on an escalator at the Civic Center station. She had her 8-month-old with her in a carrier.
“The man behind me brushed into me and I didn’t want to lose my balance,” she said. “I suspected something was amiss, but couldn’t really check my pockets without letting go of the railing.”
Jen credited BART cops and a station agent for their swift response in helping her retrieve the wallet from a nearby trash bin. The cash was gone, but not the cards, she said.
“Apparently pickpockets on BART target anyone carrying things that distract them — bikes, gadgets, or babies,” Jen said.
On Saturday, a man holding his daughter in his arms told cops he was powerless when his wallet was swiped from his back pocket in the unit block of 30th Street.
The crook didn’t run off right away. He took the time to pull out some cash, police said.
Earlier Saturday, a woman was robbed of her purse at Crocker Amazon Playground. She went to check on her kids who were playing, leaving the purse unattended, police said.
Such thefts could increase as holiday shoppers pack the sidewalks, creating confusion and thus more opportunities for crooks.
San Francisco Police Officer Albie Esparza said there are ways to prevent theft. First, purses should not be hung on shoulders but rather worn like a messenger bag, he said.
Wallets are harder to steal from the front pocket than the back pocket, Esparza added.
“I know it’s not a fashionable accessory, but [people can wear] fanny packs,” he said.
Also, people should only bring what they need. No one wants to lose all their credit cards and identification information in one theft, Esparza said.