A 95-year-old woman was targeted in the Supervalu car park in Fermoy by what Gardai are describing as foreign-national criminal gangs targeting vulnerable people.
The woman was sitting alone in the passenger seat of her car while a relative was shopping in the supermarket.
A foreign-national woman approached the window of the vehicle looking for change to use for a trolley.
When the elderly lady rolled down the window, the woman put her hand in and stole a number of notes from the woman's purse.
Sergeant John Kelly of Fermoy Garda Station spoke to Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today Show: "This is exactly the same as we've seen about two years ago. Same car park. You could move back about a year and we saw the same thing.
"Now, this is a particular method that's being used by, shall we say, 'non-national travelling criminals', who sometimes travel down from say, the Dublin area and literally would target car parks."
"Friday and Saturday seem to be good times because maybe somebody is collecting their pension and the son or daughter is in doing the shopping and they leave their mother or father sitting in the passenger seat of the car."
He said the groups are specifically targeting older people and vulnerable people. In this case, the woman fled in a silver-grey Volkswagen golf, distinctive in that it is a left-hand drive.
Sergeant Kelly advised: "If you are in that situation, and you are approached, and you're sitting, waiting for your son or daughter, just pretend you don't understand. Keep the window up, lock the car. But don't engage."