US couple use baby, phony illness to rob elderly man

Unsettling footage has emerged of the moment a pair of thieves utilised their infant child to divert a senior citizen's attention in a successful attempt to steal his wallet.

In CCTV video of the incident, the couple can be seen going up in the elevator of a New Orleans hotel with a senior citizen and his wife - but when the elevator comes to a stop, the conniving trick begins.

The wife is allowed to leave, but when the older gentleman tries to depart, the thieving man corners him, putting his baby near his face to obstruct his view and taking deep breaths.

Unbeknownst to the man, the distractions were part of a ploy to lock him in the elevator without raising suspicion - and after some time holding him in the lift, they nab his wallet and let him go.

The elderly man departs without appearing to realise that he has been robbed, and once he's gone the two thieves quickly close the elevator door and escape without punishment.

The man's wallet was later dropped off to the hotel lobby - but with US$400 (NZ$543) less in it than when the elderly man had entered the elevator.

The pair, who conducted the crime last Wednesday (local time) are still on the run from police, with the pair likely to be charged with simple robbery and cruelty to a juvenile if arrested.