VANCOUVER Police issued a warning on Wednesday as “distraction thieves” targetted the elderly in two recent incidents in the city.
The first incident happened on Monday, May 26 around 3:30 p.m. An 85-year-old East Asian woman was walking through the east lane of Victoria Drive near 36th Avenue when a stranger approached her, held onto her, placed fake jewellery around her neck and removed her necklace and rings. The robber was last seen escaping in a dark-coloured sedan.
The second incident happened on Tuesday, May 27 around 2 p.m. A 98-year-old South Asian woman was walking in the east lane of St. George Street near 51st Avenue when she was approached by a stranger who placed fake jewellery around her neck. The woman was in the process of stealing her gold earrings when she was scared off by the victim’s screams for help.
Since December 2012, police have had over 215 reported incidents of distraction theft, 111 of those incidents have been reported in Vancouver. Victims have lost over $250,000 in irreplaceable jewellery.
“These thieves continue to prey on the most vulnerable, our parents and grandparents, and are robbing them of valuable family heirlooms,” said police spokesperson Sergeant Randy Fincham.
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 Major Crime Section at (604) 717-2541 or CrimeStoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.