Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pickpocket is targeting visually impaired victims

Sixty-year-old Richard Martinez was waiting for the bus when someone offered him a ride. He is visually impaired, and that so-called friendly Samaritan took advantage of that.

Martinez gave police a vague description of the pickpocket who approached him at the bus stop, but he wants to send a warning to others.

"She got my buddy at Hackberry and Rigsby. She got me at W.W. White," Martinez said. "I just want to warn other people to be on the lookout."

Martinez says while waiting for the bus near Martin Luther King, a woman named Paula approached him.

"I had grocery bags. And she said, 'Why go on the bus with all those bags?'" Martinez said.
He said he was reluctant, but said, "She was so convincing. And she's not a young lady. She's a middle-aged lady, looks respectful."

Martinez took her generous offer, but he said she took his wallet.

"It's very common for people with any type of disability to be taken advantage of," said Laura Dupree, with The Lighthouse for the Blind.

She's heard the unfortunate stories one too many times, but has some advice.

"Trust what they feel, to trust their gut instinct, and don't get in a car with a stranger. Don't allow a stranger to help you, no matter how convincing they are," Dupree said.

She also said carrying a cell phone may deter any strangers lurking in the area.


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