Peel Police alert residents to distraction thefts

INVESTIGATORS from the 12 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau are alerting people to distraction thefts that have been occurring in the Region of Peel.

There have been several incidents where elderly victims have been approached at their residences, or other public places when they are alone, by a female suspect who engages the victim in conversation. Often, the suspect will ask for directions to a local hospital or church. The suspect then embraces the victim in the guise of thanking them for their help and, while distracted, the victim’s jewellery is stolen or switched with fake items.

The female suspect is in the company of a second female or a male accomplice and sometimes a child, who are waiting in a nearby vehicle. The vehicle utilized varies in colour and model.

These incidents are occurring in Brampton, Mississauga and neighbouring cities. Police cannot confirm that it is the same group, however the methods are similar.

These thieves are targeting the most vulnerable people, our seniors. The loss to these victims is not just the monetary value of the jewellery. Many of the items taken have great sentimental value as they have been given to them by family members and represent milestones and fond memories in their lives.

Investigators are reminding residents to be cautious if approached by a stranger, and to ensure you keep your personal property secure, and out of sight, at all times.  Maintain a distance between you and any stranger and do not allow them to have physical contact with you.  Report any suspicious activity to police as soon as possible.

To view a re-enactment of a distraction theft, click here.

If you have been a victim of this type of occurrence, report the incident to the nearest Peel Police Division or Community Station.  A list of locations is available at www.peelpolice.on.ca.

Anyone who has any information regarding this type of theft is urged to contact their local Police Division at (905) 453-3311.  Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca  or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.

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