South Bay residents beware: there have been multiple reports of "flat tire scams" in El Segundo.
The city’s police department issued a Nixle alert Feb. 23 to warn the community about the scam which allegedly cost one of the victims thousands of dollars in cash, according to the department.
The scam usually consists of thieves working in pairs, typically loitering in bank parking lots.
The thieves will flatten an unsuspecting victim’s tire while the person is away from the vehicle.
Then, when the victim drives away, one thief pretends to be a good Samaritan, pointing out the tire and offering to help fix it. While the victim is distracted, the other thief steals items from the car.
Other police agencies in Southern California have also reported this type of crime, according to the El Segundo Police Department.
“ESPD reminds everyone to be aware of your surroundings when going to a bank or any other retail location,” the department said in the Nixle alert. “If a stranger tries to get your attention to tell you one of your tires is flat, be area you may be targeted for a scam.”
The department also recommended people pull over only in safe, public areas and to notify local authorities of any potential scammers.
“If you are leery of a good Samaritan offering to help, protect your belongings and notify the local law enforcement agency that you think you are being scammed,” the department said. “This is an old scam used by thieves and it appears to be making a comeback, so be aware!”
For more information or to contact the El Segundo Police Department, call (310) 524-2200 or visit elsegundo.org/depts/police/default.asp.
South Bay locals can also sign up to receive direct alerts to their phone regarding local law enforcement activity by sending their zip code to 888777 or online at nixle.com.