Two suspects arrested for distraction thefts targeting seniors in East Vancouver

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distraction thefts
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Vancouver police have arrested two suspects who are believed to be responsible for a number of distraction thefts against seniors on the city’s east side.

A 23-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 5 in the afternoon near Kerr Street and East 49th Avenue, shortly after a 69-year-old man had his necklace stolen following an interaction 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,” says Constable Steve Addison, VPD. “We still remind seniors to remain vigilant, and not to let strangers into their personal space.”

VPD issued a warning in August after a spate of distraction thefts targeting seniors in East Vancouver. Many of the victims are visible minorities, and they were approached while in their yards or walking on the street. A man and a woman would try to distract the victims by giving them fake jewelry while they stole the real jewelry.

VPD detectives recovered jewelry following Wednesday’s arrest, and have already returned some of those valuables to their rightful owners.

Petre Alexandru, 23, and Gratiela Stoian, 18, have been charged with one count each of theft of jewelry, and remain in custody until their next court appearance. The investigation is ongoing, and police anticipate more charges will be forwarded to Crown counsel.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.