Three men who called at a Littlehampton flat claiming to be checking for a water leak stole a handbag from the woman occupant.
The men called at the flat in Connaught Road at about 2.30pm on Thursday (June 21) saying that the landlord of the flat knew about their call.
The woman, who was preoccupied with putting away shopping and attending to her young daughter who had just finished school, allowed them access and watched them as they moved through the flat. They left, telling her not to worry and they would let themselves out.
A little while later, the woman went to look for her handbag and discovered it was missing with its contents, which included a bank card and some cash.
The first man was described by the victim as possibly foreign, well tanned, 5ft 5in, of medium build with dark black cropped hair that was long on top.
The second was white, 35-40, 5ft 4in, with very short cropped hair and a local accent - he did most of the talking.
The third man was white, taller than the others, with longish hair and wearing a baseball cap. He spoke with an English accent.
Detective Constable Sarah Thurgood said: “We are treating this as a distraction burglary, but it is a little unusual in that the victim was a younger person, rather than an elderly one who are normally the targets of this type of criminal. Unfortunately, it demonstrates that we must all remain alert and if you get a caller that you’re not expecting, make sure that you’re entirely happy with their credentials. Any genuine caller will have identification and won’t mind waiting while you telephone to check with their employer.
“If you saw these three men in the area on Thursday or have any information about them, please call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 1394 of 21/06 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”