Vancouver Police are advising the public to be cautious following a string of distraction thefts targeting the elderly.
The VPD has received three reports of distraction thefts that have resulted in thousands of dollars being stolen from elderly victim’s bank accounts.
The incidents occurred on March 2nd and 3rd at grocery stores on Vancouver’s West Side: City Square, Oakridge Mall, and West Broadway at MacDonald Street. Suspects watched as elderly customers used their debit cards to make a purchase, 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 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.
The men and woman targeted ranged in age from 82 to 97.
The suspects were described as:
- Suspect 1: White male with darker skin, 25- to 30-years-old, 5’10” to 5’11” tall, medium build, wearing a white and black camouflage ball-cap and black shoes
- Suspect 2: White male with darker skin, 30- to 40-year-old, 5’9″ tall, stocky build, wearing a black toque, black jacket, and black track pants with white stripes down the legs
The Vancouver Police Department would like to remind the public of the following tips:
- protect your personal space
- make sure no one is around you when entering your PIN into keypads
- be loud if you need help – don’t be afraid to shout or yell
- protect your belongings
- don’t hesitate to call police if you need assistance
For information on how seniors can protect themselves, visit VPD’s Safety Awareness for Elders (S.A.F.E.).
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact detectives at (604) 717-9061 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.