FISHERS, Ind. -- The Fishers Police Department is warning residents of a theft gang operating within Fishers.
"This is a well-organized gang that is operating across the nation. And they're here in Fishers," said Fishers Police, Sgt. Tom Weger.
Earlier this month, police say a patron of the Panera Bread at 8510 East 96th Street reported her wallet had been stolen while she was dining at the restaurant.
The suspect(s) immediately traveled to the Super Target near 116th Street and I-69 and used the victim’s credit cards to purchase $5,000 in gift cards, according to FPD.
"They are specifically looking for credit cards to be used very quickly in the area before the victim realizes that they've been a target," said Sgt. Weger.
Detectives believe the suspects are members of a well-organized theft gang. These gang members normally operate in groups of two or three. The group can be made up of males and females. Authorities say they are usually well dressed and use rental cars to better blend in to up-scale communities.
"They are targeting eateries such as the Panera Bread. But not exclusively to the Panera bread but places like that around lunchtime," said Sgt. Weger.
The gang specifically targets lunch time eateries located near large retail stores. Most of their victims are female and usually involve thefts from purses or large handbags, according to officials.
"We're just asking people to just pay attention when they're out in the community. Make sure that they always keep their valuables visible and do become easily distracted," said Sgt. Weger.
FPD offers the following safety tips:
- Always stay alert.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid becoming easily distracted (i.e. Cell phones, laptop computers).
- Download the Relay App at www.Relayapp.com and immediately report suspicious activity.
- Always keep valuables visible.
- Purses and handbags should be held in your lap. Never hang your bag over the back of a chair.
- Make sure certain purses and handbags are kept closed. Zipper style bags are preferred.
- Set up fraud alerts on all credit/debit cards.
- Immediately notify the police if you think you have become a victim. Do not wait until you get home. Time is critical in these cases. The sooner the police are notified the better the chance is the criminals will be caught.