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Alleged distraction theft duo arrested after Vancouver seniors targeted for weeks
Published Friday, September 6, 2019 9:37AM PDT Last Updated Friday, September 6, 2019 7:10PM PDT
Two people have been arrested in relation to a string of distraction thefts where seniors were targeted across East Vancouver.
On Wednesday, police arrested a 23-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman who they believe are responsible for a series of distraction thefts.
The pair was taken into custody near Kerr Street and East 49th Avenue, not long after a 69-year-old man had his necklace stolen after interacting 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," said Vancouver Police Department Const. Steve Addison in a news release.
"We still remind seniors to remain vigilant, and not to let strangers into their personal space."
Last month, VPD issued a warning after several distraction thefts against seniors were reported. The victims were often targeted in their yards or on the street by a man and a woman who tried to give them fake jewelry and stole their real jewelry in the confusion.
In one reported incident last month, police say a senior woman was gardening at her home in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood in July, when a man and woman drove up in an SUV. The woman got out of the car, approached the senior and forced pieces of costume jewelry into her hands.
After the senior told the woman to leave, she later realized that her gold bracelet had been removed from her wrist during the incident.
"Distraction thieves work quickly and use the element of surprise to confuse their victims," Addison said. "They’re successful because victims often don’t realize they’ve been scammed until much later."
Police recovered jewelry after arresting Petre Alexandru and Gratiela Stoian, who have been charged with one count each of jewelry theft. They'll remain in custody until their next court appearance.
Some of the recovered jewelry has been returned to its owners.
The investigation is still ongoing but police say more charges will likely be forwarded to Crown counsel. Anyone with information is asked to contact VPD's major crime section at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous.