Vancouver Police are issuing a public warning after investigators identified more than a dozen similar distraction thefts and robberies between October 2009 and January 2010. These events have taken place primarily in downtown Vancouver and on the West Side.
In many of the incidents, up to four suspects would stake out currency exchanges, bank branches or jewellery stores and follow a specific person as they left the premise. Shortly after, the thieves would seize upon an opportunity to engage in a distraction theft or an outright robbery.
In some cases, victims were approached by a suspect who told them they had a flat tire and offered to change it for them. While the motorist and the suspect were looking in the trunk for the spare tire and jack, a second suspect would steal the unsuspecting motorist’s purse or bag.
The suspects sometimes wore masks and were armed with handguns. No one has been injured in any of these incidents.
A similar public warning was issued by Vancouver Police in April and September of 2009, following a number of distraction theft incidents.
Vancouver Police are cautioning people to be aware of these tactics and to immediately report suspicious people or circumstances to the police.