A number of seniors have been conned out of thousands of dollars by the so-called distraction thieves in Vancouver.
Investigators have received three reports of distraction thefts resulting in money getting stolen from the bank accounts of elderly victims.
The incidents occurred on March 2nd and 3rd at grocery stores in Vancouver, including City Square Shopping Centre, Oakridge Mall and West Broadway at MacDonald Street.
Police say suspects would watch as their victims used their debit cards to pay for something, taking note of their PIN as they punched it into the keypad.
Once outside, the suspect made contact with the victim, chatting with them and sometimes even hugging them, as their accomplice secretly removed the victim’s wallet from their bag, walker or jacket pocket.
They took out the financial card and quickly returned the wallet to the victim’s pocket.
It wasn’t until later that the seniors discovered money had been taken from their accounts.
Police say the crooks are targeting men and women, ranging in age from 82 to 97 years old.
One of the suspects is described as a white man with darker skin, 25 to 30-years-old, 5’10” to 5’11” tall, with medium build. He was wearing a white and black camouflage ball-cap and black shoes. The other suspect is described as a white male with darker skin, 30 to 40-year-old, 5’9” tall, with stocky build. He was wearing a black toque, black jacket and black track pants with white stripes down the legs.
It is not the first time Vancouver Police have to deal with distraction thefts.
Vancouver investigators saw a spike in the “sleight of hand” jewellery thefts in 2014, warning the public that there were multiple crime groups operating in the city that were targeting predominantly elderly victims and steal their jewellery.
Police even released a video of the dramatization of how distraction theft may occur.
For information on how seniors can protect themselves, visit VPD’s Safety Awareness for Elders (S.A.F.E.). Anyone with information about the distraction thefts is asked to contact the detectives at (604) 717-9061 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.
Post Source: Global News
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