Mother-daughter team using ‘distraction theft,’ store owner says

A crime called “distraction theft” is getting people’s attention, especially in Hall County.

Janet Upchurch, who owns an antiques and gift shop in Flowery Branch, became a victim recently, according to Channel 2 Action News. Police said a mother-daughter team that targets small businesses is responsible. 

“They're thieves,” Upchurch said, “there's just no other words for it." 

On a recent visit to Upchurch’s store, the mother. identified as Tabitha Dixon, called Upchurch to the back of the store to ask about an item, according to the owner.

That’s when the daughter, identified as Tiara Williams, allegedly sneaked behind a counter.

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Tabitha Dixon (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

“In the footage, it shows the girl come behind here,” Upchurch said, “and she steals my billfold and that's the way they do it."

Police said the mother and daughter then went on a spending spree, using the victim’s credit cards at nearby Home Depot and Target stores.

"Used a Home Depot credit card to buy five gift cards, about $1,100 in gift cards,” said Det. Robin Kemp of Flowery Branch police.

“At Target, they purchased an Xbox, a $500-and-something Xbox.”

Tiara Williams (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Upchurch canceled her credit cards when she found out they were stolen, but the damage still came to almost $4,000, she said.

Police said arrest warrants are out for the suspects.

Upchurch advised other small business owners to be on guard.

“Anyone in a small town, a small business,” she said, “really needs to keep their eyes open." 

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