Smooth-talking scammer targeting seniors in Vancouver to steal money and valuables

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      Update: Donald Robert Quinnell of Chilliwack was arrested on September 12, 2019, and 39 charges against him were approved on January 19, 2020. For more information, see this article.

      Original article:

      Just as North Vancouver RCMP stopped a scam targeting a senior in its tracks, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is also issuing a warning to seniors about a con-man who has a way with words.

      Today (August 28), the VPD stated in a news release that there have been 12 incidents since late July about a male suspect who approaches seniors in their yards or knocks on their front door, begins a conversation with them, and then steals from them when they aren’t aware of what he's doing.

      He sometimes claims to be a neighbor who has been locked out of his residence and is in need of using a phone.

      In other cases, he has claimed to be a canvasser for local charities. After being let inside a residence, he waits until his victims are distracted, then steals cash or valuable items.

      The most recent incident took place on August 27 near Nanaimo Street in the Grandview-Woodlands area.

      As these incidents have taken place throughout the city, investigators believe the suspect is moving across the Lower Mainland.

      The suspect is described as a friendly, well-groomed white male with brown hair who appears to be in his 40s. He has a medium build is about 180 centimetres (five-feet, eleven-inches) tall.

      The VPD is are warning seniors to be wary and for anyone with elderly relatives to help ensure that they don’t become a victim of this scammer.

      Anyone who sees this man should call 911 immediately.

      Over the last few months, an increased number of other scams and thefts have been targeting seniors in Metro Vancouver, including distraction theft involving jewellery in East and South Vancouver, and wallet or money distraction thefts in West Vancouver

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook