While distraction thefts have been occurring in Vancouver over the past year, they have recently surfaced in the Fraser Valley and involve new techniques, including physical aggression.
Today (February 14), the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) issued a warning that two distraction thefts were reported this week.
According to the APD, late in the morning on February 10, an elderly woman was walking along Cardinal Avenue when a grey vehicle pulled up behind her.
A female suspect got out of the vehicle, pushed the victim to the ground, and took a gold chain from the victim’s neck before getting back into the vehicle and fleeing from the scene.
In a separate case that took place today, the APD received a report that an elderly woman was walking on Crestview Avenue this morning. When a white vehicle pulled up, a female suspect exited the vehicle and approached the victim.
The suspect began speaking to the senior, who did not understand what she was saying as she does not speak English, while putting her hand on the victim’s forehead and neck.
After the suspect got back into her car, the victim discovered that her necklace was missing.
The APD stated that as there appears to be more than one suspect involved in these incidents, they currently don’t have distinct descriptions.
Police note that the suspects tend to be female, target elderly pedestrians, and may try to offer or place jewellery on individuals who they approach. Anyone who experiences this is asked to call 911.
Anyone with information related to these incidents is asked to please contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
On January 31, the Vancouver Police Department stated that several distraction thefts in Vancouver had been reported in recent weeks, including some cases involving children in vehicles who were used as distractions or attempts to ask for assistance. Investigators believe an organized crime group is orchestrating the thefts.