The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is investigating two “distraction thefts” this week in which jewelry was stolen from victims while they were wearing the items.
Const. Jody Thomas said both victims in Abbotsford were elderly and were walking in their neighborhoods with their grandchildren.
In both instances, a vehicle stopped and a female passenger asked the victim for directions to the hospital, she said.
After directions were provided, the woman exited the vehicle and made an excuse to place jewelry on the victim.
“While doing so, the suspect discreetly removed the victim’s own expensive jewelry,” Thomas said.
The suspect in both thefts is described as South Asian or Middle Eastern, 50 to 60 years old, with a heavy build and black hair.
The male driver is described as South Asian or Middle Eastern and 20 to 30 years old with black hair.
Thomas said there has been a noticeable increase in these types of thefts in the Lower Mainland in recent weeks.
“The descriptions of the suspects and their vehicles vary, so it is possible multiple thieves are working as a group,” she said.
Thomas said police are asking family members to alert seniors about the scam.
She said police also recommend that citizens conceal valuable items under their clothing while in public and that they not allow strangers into their personal space.
Thomas said if anyone feels threatened by a stranger, they should clearly tell the person they are not interested and to leave them alone, draw attention to the situation, and call 911 and report the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225, text 222973 (abbypd), Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or report online at Solvecrime.ca.