Authorities warn of a new scam, known as pigeon droppings, which mainly targets the elderly.
In Soissons, in the Oise, two men were arrested in flagrante delicto.
If there's one thing law enforcement knows for a fact, it's that criminals have endless imaginations when it comes to devising new schemes to rob their victims.
The bird droppings scam.
Yes, yes, you read that right.
The process is simple: an individual discreetly sprinkles a bad-smelling and brown liquid on a victim, often elderly, followed a few minutes later by an accomplice who, under the pretext of helping to clean the targeted person, discreetly steals his wallet, her cell phone or even her jewellery.
The Hérault gendarmerie was one of the first to alert, from March 1 on social networks, to this new scam, but the process has already been listed in other regions.
In Soissons, in the Oise, for example, two men, aged around forty, were caught red-handed on March 17.
“We were on patrol when we noticed a relatively elderly woman rubbing her hair vigorously while a man next to her seemed to be helping her, recalls police major Alain Marquet, head of the police force. police-rescue brigade.
The scene seemed relatively banal but what caught our attention was that another individual, parked next to a car registered in the Paris region, was watching attentively.
A syringe of "droppings"
Moments later, the two individuals actually meet.
This is when the crew decides to control them.
"What made tilt, it is the origin of the two men: South American", continues the major of police.
And to add: "it immediately reminded me of another case on which we had worked two months earlier".
An elderly woman had her jewelry stolen after being sprayed with pigeon droppings.
A few days later, a South American couple was arrested in the Paris region and the stolen jewelry was found.
During the check of the vehicle, Major Marquet found, in the wing of the car, a syringe without a needle with an odorous and brown liquid resembling to be mistaken to droppings... As well as two jewels.
However, after verification, these jewels are not those of the elderly lady sprayed a few moments earlier.
"Our presence probably prevented them from acting," said the major.
A few hours after this double arrest, another woman, also relatively old, came to the police station to file a complaint, describing the same scheme and recognizing the jewelry.
If the two men are already known for facts of the same nature, only one of them has recognized the facts.
The investigation continues to try to find new victims.
The difficulty of identifying the facts
“This is one of the difficulties in this type of case, continues a source within the central management of the police.
Not only do the people targeted not necessarily immediately realize that they have just had their belongings stolen, but some do not make the connection with bird droppings.
Thus, if this scam, imported it seems from Latin America, seems to be on the rise in recent weeks, it remains difficult to assess.
Both the police and the gendarmerie are calling for people to be vigilant about the good Samaritans who come out of nowhere.
History to avoid being pigeonholed (yes, this joke is a bit easy, we know).
In search of the victims of thefts with "greenish liquid" in the Var
Beware of the bird droppings scam, a new kind of theft by trickery