Oregon Police Warn Costco Shoppers About Crime Ring

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PORTLAND, Ore. Authorities report that a crime ring in Oregon is actively targeting customers at big box stores along the coast.

Portland police detectives are investigating multiple pickpocketing incidents, particularly in Costco parking lots around the metro area. They are seeking public assistance to identify more victims and to watch for suspects.

Recent surveillance footage reveals a 93-year-old man pushing his cart out of a Portland Costco, trailed by three men who eventually steal his wallet from his back pocket.

The victim expressed hopes that police can dismantle the crime ring.

“It’s devastating losing everything in your wallet,” he shared. “Then you have to replace your driver’s license and other important cards.”

Portland Police Detective Jordan Zaitz is committed to locating the thieves.

“It makes me sick,” she stated. “They’re hunting for people’s identities and stolen credit cards. Many probably don’t realize it’s happening until much later, allowing the thieves to escape unnoticed.”

In the 93-year-old’s case, Zaitz noted he checked out of Costco at 5 p.m., was home by 5:30 p.m., and by the time he contacted Visa and MasterCard, the thieves had already used his cards at a local store.

“They managed to acquire nearly $1,500 in gift cards,” Zaitz said. “They’re well-organized, likely doing this for a long time.”

Portland police have identified pickpocketing attempts at Costcos in Portland, Tigard, and in Washington towns like Kirkland, Puyallup, Tukwila, and Lynnwood.

More unknowing victims are presumed.

“A woman loading her car had her wallet stolen from her purse,” Zaitz shared. “We have video, but she hasn’t reported it. It’s crucial to find similar victims to potentially link them to this group.”

Portland police urge victims to report incidents promptly to help retrieve surveillance footage.

“The sooner the better since video footage is only stored for a limited time,” Zaitz emphasized. “I want to charge them for every crime committed. Shoppers should remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.”

“Be alert in parking lots and inside stores. Don’t leave your purse on a chair; keep it in your lap or in front of you,” Zaitz recommended. “When unloading groceries, secure your purse in your car first. If a man has a wallet in his back pocket, button it and stay aware.”

More details on the case, including photos of the suspects, are available on the Portland Police Bureau’s website.

Matt Rawlings
Matt Rawlings
Matt Rawlings is a digital reporter who focuses on local news in Oregon and Portland. He has written for various media outlets including KOIN-TV, FOX 5 San Diego (KSWB-TV), Pamplin Media Group, and his work has also been featured in Yahoo News, KRON-TV, and WGHP-TV 8. Matt covers a range of topics including sports, crime, accidents, and local events.

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