Police seek trio of "distraction" thieves in Olathe and Overland Park

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - Police in Johnson County are asking for the public's help in tracking down a trio of thieves targeting elderly women at supermarkets.

The three suspected thieves use a so-called "distraction technique," in which two of the women chat up a potential victim while a third lifts the mark's wallet from her purse while she is distracted.

That's precisely what happened to 83-year-old Marian Ferguson while she was grocery shopping at a Price Chopper here last month.

Two women approached her while she was looking at cakes and talked about eating healthy. When Ferguson finished shopping and went to check out, her wallet was gone.

"I didn't think of those two women until after I called Discover card and they said yes they've already charged $3,900 dollars on it," she told 41 Action News.

Ferguson's credit cards were all used at nearby stores; in particular the Walmart down the block where police told Ferguson the women bought several $650 dollar gift cards using her credit cards.

Surveillance cameras snapped photos of the women as they were leaving the Price Chopper and now police are asking anyone who can identify the women to call the tips hotline.

Police believe the women used the same technique to rob a 65-year-old woman at a different grocery store later that day.

Ferguson said she's speaking out to help police in that effort.

"These people need to be put away," she said. "They're criminals."

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