VANCOUVER – Burnaby RCMP are warning the public about new types of distraction thefts after two seniors were robbed in separate incidents.
The first one took place on Sept. 5, when a woman withdrew cash from a bank near Kingsway and Willingdon Avenue. She put the cash in an envelope and then continued shopping. About 20 minutes later, she was approached by another woman who told her she had ketchup on her back. The woman then chatted with the victim while cleaning her back. Police say while the victim was distracted, a man stole the envelope of money out of her bag.
The second incident happened on Sept. 18 at a mall near Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue. The victim was getting into her vehicle when a woman told her that she had dropped some change near her front wheel. When the victim got out of her car to look for the money, a man got into the passenger side and stole cash from her purse.
“Definitely there was a lot of planning involved, and it’s more than one person, so they’ve co-ordinated to some degree,” said Cpl. Michael Kalanj with Burnaby RCMP.
RCMP don’t have reason to believe the two cases are linked at this point. They have released surveillance photos from both incidents in hopes that the suspects can be identified.
“We’re very concerned,” said Kalanj. “Our two victims in the two incidents we’re talking about today were both elderly females, and we’re talking about potentially the most vulnerable people in our society. So we’re very serious about this.”
RCMP are encouraging people to be aware of their surroundings and to protect their valuables.
“We know how difficult it can be to talk about this if you’re a victim of this type of crime,” said Kalanj. “But please come forward and tell us because if we don’t know about a crime happening, we can’t stop it from happening to someone else.”