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Police Warn Public After Distraction Thefts Target The Elderly

The Vancouver Police Department is advising the public to be cautious of strangers offering jewellery after a number of seniors have been targeted by con artists who use sleight of hand to steal their valuables.

The con consists of a thief finding a potential victim that is wearing gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets or rings. The stranger approaches the victim and overwhelms him or her by talking and placing fake jewellery or a scarf around the victim’s head, neck or wrist.  The thief removes the victim’s jewellery and leaves behind the fake jewelelry or a scarf in its place. The thief then walks away, leaving the victim disoriented and confused and  not knowing they have been scammed until they notice their jewellery is missing.

The suspects have been described as both men and women of varying age, with medium to dark skin. The women often wear flowing dresses and scarves. On a number of occasions the thief has left in a waiting car.

The Vancouver Police Department would like to remind the public of the following tips:

  • if you wear jewellery in public, conceal valuable items under your clothing
  • don’t allow anyone you don’t know into your personal space
  • clearly tell the person that you are not interested, and for them to leave you alone
  • draw attention to the situation by calling for help
  • call 9-1-1 and report the crime to police

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Vancouver Police General Investigation Unit at (604) 717-3204 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.