The thief looks for and targets potential victims that are wearing gold earrings, bracelets, necklaces or rings. The stranger approaches the victim and overwhelms him or her by talking or placing fake jewellery or a scarf around the victim's head, neck or wrist. Then, the thief removes the victim's actual jewellery leaving behind the fake jewellery or scarf in it's place.
The thief then walks away, leaving the victim disorientated and confused and not aware that they have been scammed/robbed until they notice their jewellery is missing.
It seems these scam artists/thieves are taking advantage of the elderly who commonly wear jewellery and those who have English as second language.
There have been 27 incidents reported like this in Southeast Vancouver alone and it's more than probable that many other incidents have not been reported because the victims feel embarrassed by what's happened to them.
The thieves in these cons 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 fled the scene in a waiting car.
Please report any crimes like this or others. Anyone with information about this type of crime is asked to contact the Vancouver Police General Investigation Unit at 604-717-3204 or Crime-Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
- If you wear jewellery 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 as soon as possible and report the crime to the police.
*This post has been brought to you from the Revue, Your Neighbourhood Newspaper (South Vancouver) and the South Vancouver Policing Centre.
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