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Charges laid in summer distraction thefts

Vancouver Police this week arrested a 23-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman believed responsible for distraction thefts against seniors on the city’s east side.

VPD officers made the arrest Wednesday afternoon near Kerr Street and East 49th Avenue, shortly after a 69-year-old man had his necklace stolen following an interaction with a man and woman on the street.

“This is a significant development in this major case, and our detectives are confident these individuals are connected to other distraction thefts in the city,” says Constable Steve Addison, VPD. “We still remind seniors to remain vigilant, and not to let strangers into their personal space.”

VPD issued a warning last month after a series of distraction thefts targeting seniors in East Vancouver. The victims – many of them visible minorities – were each approached in their yards or while walking on the street by a man and woman who tried to give them fake jewelry, then stole real jewelry from the seniors when they were distracted.

VPD detectives recovered jewelry following Wednesday’s arrest, and have already returned some of those valuables to their rightful owners.

Petre Alexandru, 23, and Gratiela Stoian, 18, have been charged with one count each of theft of jewelry, and remain in custody until their next court appearance. The investigation is ongoing, and police anticipate more charges will be forwarded to Crown counsel.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.