The unconventional thief reportedly creates a distraction by hopping up and down in the fruit and vegetable aisles in supermarkets, shouting out "potatoes", "swede", "cabbage" and "turnips".
The man, described by police as a stocky white man in his 30s or 40s with blonde hair, is believed to have targeted at least five shoppers in recent weeks.
Speaking to The Mirror, 59-year-old Hilary Brown recounted the experience of her dad and stepmother at the hands of the thief in Dorking, Surrey.
She said: "He distracted my father by shouting out all these vegetable names.
"My father thought, 'you're a bit strange', but thought nothing of it and carried on shopping."
The pair later found both their wallet and purse had been stolen in the commotion.
Other things taken by the crook include credit cards and £200 in cash from an elderly couple in a Sainsbury's store.
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