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Vancouver police send out warning after rash of distraction thefts in South Van

The suspect has been targeting elderly women who are alone
distraction thefts
Vancouver police are warning elderly residents to be vigilant after reports of six distraction thefts in South Vancouver in just two days.

Vancouver police are warning elderly residents to be vigilant after reports of six distraction thefts in South Vancouver in just two days.

In all six cases, a suspect got out of a vehicle and approached an elderly woman who was alone. After a brief conversation, the thief makes physical contact with the victim and, in most cases, swaps the victim’s expensive jewelry with inexpensive pieces. Police said the victims were not aware that their jewelry was taken until after the thief left.

“We are encouraging family and friends to tell seniors in our communities about this scam,” media relations officer Sgt. Jason Robillard said in a news release. “Remind them to be very cautious if someone enters their personal space.”

The recent spate of robberies occurred on March 20 and 21 between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The victims were all approached on a sidewalk or in a yard. The suspect has been described as a short, heavy-set woman with a dark, olive complexion and a round face. She appears to be 40 to 50 years old and was wearing a shite shawl.

Police say that anyone who is approached by the suspect should call 911 immediately. Anyone with information about these crimes, or victims who have not yet made a police report, is being told to call Vancouver police investigators at 604-717-2541.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com