For the past couple of months, Mounties in plain clothes have been on the lookout for thieves targeting people at the Vancouver airport.

On Wednesday, officers with the Richmond RCMP YVR detachment observed a woman allegedly stealing a purse from a passenger at the international arrivals terminal.

 The suspect, a 60-year-old woman, is a foreign national and is believed part of a larger, organized group of travelling thieves who go from airport to airport.

“Suspects that specialize in this work generally work in teams and employ techniques to divert attention from their true purpose: to steal valuables away from their owners," said Insp. Keith Bramhill. "They are acute observers of people’s behaviour and their habits. They are often difficult to identify and detect as they are extremely good at their craft."

The RCMP said since March, officers have been at the airport investigating these types of crimes.

Bramhill said typically, the crooks would be long gone after a theft has occurred.

"We are fortunate to have experienced officers that knew exactly what to look for. Their timing was impeccable,” he said.

They believe the suspect may be linked to several other thefts, adding other police agencies are interested and have been helping out with the investigation.

Authorities would like to remind people to be mindful of their belongings and valuables at all times, and to report any suspicious activity immediately to police.

The suspect's identity has not been released.