A number of distraction thefts have been taking place across Metro Vancouver from the North Shore to South Vancouver in recent months.
This past week, a number of seniors were targeted in jewellery thefts South Vancouver while West Vancouver police have identified a person of interest in a series of wallet thefts.
Today (August 23), the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) warned citizens about a series of distraction thefts that took place in South Vancouver.
Between August 20 and 21, three seniors in the Kensington and Fraserview areas were targeted by a man and woman who were driving in a white vehicle.
In each incident, the suspects in the vehicle called the victims to approach them.
As they tried to give them fake jewellery, they secretly removed real jewellery being worn by the unsuspecting victim before they left.
The suspects are described as a South Asian female with long black hair who is about 30 to 35 years old and a South Asian male with short black hair who is about 40 to 45 years old. They were seen driving a white sedan or SUV.
VPD spokesperson Const. Steve Addison stated in a news release that distraction thieves tend to target elderly people and visible minorities.
Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to contact VPD at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Previously, the VPD warned the public about distraction thefts taking place in East and South Vancouver.
On June 20, a 77-year-old woman in her backyard in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood was approached by a woman (who arrived in an SUV driven by a male driver) who forced costume jewellery into her hands. Despite resisting, the victim later found her gold bracelet had been stolen.
Meanwhile in West Vancouver, a male suspect has been allegedly stealing wallets from seniors in residential buildings.
Around 1:30 p.m. on August 20, a man approached a 94-year-old woman in a common hallway of her apartment building in the 1300 block of Clyde Avenue in West Vancouver.
He began a conversation with her and while she was distracted, he stole her wallet.
Around 3:30 p.m. on the same day in the same apartment building, a man approached an 84-year-old woman who convinced her to let him inside her apartment. Once he was inside, he stole her wallet.
Then around 4:45 p.m. on the same day, a resident at a building in the 500 block of Water’s Edge Crescent noticed a suspicious man who was trying to talk to residents. After the man was confronted, he left the area.
Afterward, when victims contacted their respective banks, they discovered that their stolen debit and credit cards had been used in multiple fraudulent transactions. The total financial loss is still to be determined.
The WVPD announced that a person of interest has been identified in this investigation, which remains ongoing.
Previously, the WVPD had reported that on June 29, a dark-skinned male suspect who appeared to be about 40 to 50 years old had approached a senior and told him the senior had dropped some cash he wanted to return to him.
When the senior opened his wallet, the suspect allegedly stole his credit card without the senior being aware of what was happening.