Worthington police are investigating a series of thefts that they believe involve a group of pickpockets traveling into the area.

Worthington police are investigating a series of thefts that they believe involve a group of pickpockets traveling into the area.

Multiple women in Worthington have reported their wallets or other items were stolen from purses while they were visiting restaurants, coffee shops or similar areas.

According to Lt. Michael Holton, most cases involve a woman hanging a purse or similar article from the back of a chair.

While the victims aren't in contact with the purse or bag, a suspect often engages them in conversation or distracts them in some way while a second suspect steals items.

"The women don't even know their items have been taken until they try to get their card out again or they get a phone call from the bank," Holton said.

Worthington detectives believe the suspects are working in groups of three to five, and are traveling the country, recently arriving in Worthington. This is not the first time Worthington has dealt with such a group.

Holton said the department has taken more than five calls in December alone, and expects other instances. Victims are often older women, and items stolen have ranged from cellphones and laptops to cash and gift cards.

Police have photos of suspects from a variety of locations, but have not named any suspects or made any arrests.

For women concerned about their items, Holton said the department suggests staying in closer contact with belongings while in public places.

"Keep your purse in your lap and don't leave it hanging on a chair," he said.

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