Police in Tayside have warned the public to remain vigilant after a series of thefts involving distraction techniques at small shops and businesses.
Officers said the perpetrator is known to enter premises alone and then distract shop staff, usually a person working on their own, by asking them to check in the back for certain items of stock.
The individual has also reportedly asked workers about an item he claims was left behind by a family member on a previous visit. He then removes money from any insecure tills before leaving.
Police are currently investigating seven crimes the force “strongly” believes are linked, including one in Carnoustie on June 18 and two in Dundee (Union Street and Perth Road) on June 25.
Officers are also looking into three incidents in Perth (Atholl Street and George Street) on July 2, and another in Pitlochry on the same day.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “There may be other crimes like this that we have not yet been informed of, or you may be aware of a person having entered a shop and made a request of this type but he has not been successful in distracting the staff.
“In either of these cases, please let us know. The person we would like to trace is described as a white male in his early 30s, about 6ft in height and with short dark brown hair and stubble, usually wearing a cap or hat of some type.”
The Courier reported last week that a man had stolen money from Quirky Coo in Dundee’s Union Street after claiming his mother had left a bag in the shop the previous day and he had come to collect it.
While the owner, David Blair, looked downstairs for the bag, the crook emptied the till of its contents before taking off with the cash.
Mr Blair said: “The man came in and said that his mother had left a shopping bag at the shop on Monday.
“I went downstairs to look for it. While I was down there he walked behind the counter and took the money from the till.
“He was still there when I came back up. I couldn’t find a bag and he said he’d check that his mother had given him the right shop and left. It’s annoying but luckily there was not a lot of money in the till.”
Anyone with information that could assist the force with its investigation is asked to call 101 or speak to any officer. Information can also be given anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.