Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

How to keep your valuables safe from pickpockets

Apr 28, 2024 12:08PM ● By Grand Junction Police Department

Pickpocketing is among the oldest crimes investigated by law enforcement. Remarkably, more than 400,000 pickpocketing incidents occur worldwide each day. Retail stores, markets, restaurants and bars rank among the prime venues for such thefts.

A proficient pickpocket can swipe thousands of dollars with little risk. These thieves often remain unidentified, as they typically disappear before the victim notices the theft. 


Pickpockets vary in skill level. Some are mere opportunists who seek out easy targets—individuals who leave themselves vulnerable. For instance, consider someone dining in a restaurant with a backpack hanging open on the back of their chair. A pickpocket can easily sit nearby, subtly reach into the backpack and leave the scene unnoticed by the victim.

Some common pickpockets blend skill with opportunism. In a crowded store, for example, a pickpocket might bump into someone and stealthily remove a wallet from their pocket without being detected. 

Some pickpockets distract victims by asking for help or engaging in conversation while an accomplice steals the victim’s wallet out of a purse. Often, they target elderly women, who may leave their purses open in a shopping cart. By the time the victim realizes their wallet is missing, the pickpocket has left the store and may be using the stolen debit or credit cards to buy a large quantity of gift cards.


In Michigan, a crime ring made up of middle-aged and elderly women successfully operated as pickpockets, targeting unsuspecting shoppers. They stole more than $500,000 in just 18 months. 

Pickpockets can be any gender, age or ethnicity, and they often blend seamlessly into their environment to avoid being detected by their victims. They could be anyone! 

Protecting yourself from pickpockets starts with understanding that they typically target those who appear lost, distracted or deeply engrossed in something. The best way to safeguard your valuables involves making them difficult to access:

Always keep your bags, such as purses and backpacks, securely closed and within sight.

Carry bags that close firmly. Easy access for you means easy access for pickpockets.

Carry wallets in secure, inner pockets that minimize bulging to avoid drawing attention.

Keep photocopies of your driver's license, credit cards and other documents in a safe place at home. This simplifies recovery efforts should theft occur. 


If you fall victim to a pickpocket and have your wallet stolen, here are some immediate steps to take:

  • Contact your credit card companies immediately to report the theft and freeze or cancel your cards.
  • File a police report to officially document the incident, which can be helpful for insurance claims and credit card disputes.
  • If your driver's license was stolen, get in touch with the Department of Motor Vehicles to report the theft and request a replacement.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration if your Social Security card was stolen (but you shouldn’t be carrying it around with you anyways!)
  • To protect yourself from identity theft, contact the major credit reporting agencies to place an alert on your credit (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). This alert requires creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before opening new accounts. 

To File a Police Report

Grand Junction:


Call non-emergency dispatch: 970-242-6707.

Delta County:

Montrose County: