Police Warn Public After Distraction Thefts Target The Elderly

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Vancouver Police Department

The Vancouver Police Department is advising the public to be cautious of strangers offering jewelry after a number of seniors have been targeted by con artists who use sleight of hand to steal their valuables.

The con consists of a thief finding a potential victim that is wearing gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets or rings. The stranger approaches the victim and overwhelms him or her by talking and placing fake jewelry or a scarf around the victim’s head, neck or wrist.  The thief removes the victim’s jewelry and leaves behind the fake jewelry or a scarf in its place. The thief then walks away, leaving the victim disoriented and confused and the victim does not know they have been scammed until they notice their jewelry is missing.

The suspects have been described as both men and women of varying age, with medium to dark skin. The women often wear flowing dresses and scarves. On a number of occasions the thief has left in a waiting car.

The Vancouver Police Department would like to remind the public of the following tips:

If you wear jewelry 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 General Investigation Unit at 604-717-3204 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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