Distraction thieves back in Abbotsford with new techniques

ABBOTSFORD Police are once again warning the community to be aware of a group of distraction thieves that are back in town. While they continue to use distraction techniques, police are very concerned that there has been a recent escalation in their violence.

The thieves, usually female, will target elderly pedestrians with the intention of stealing their jewellery. They make physical contact with the unknowing victim to convince them to try on jewelry and then exchange it with fake jewelry with a sleight of hand maneuver or, most recently, using violence.

On February 10, in the late morning hours, an elderly woman was walking on Cardinal Avenue, when a grey vehicle pulled up behind her. A female suspect exited the vehicle and pushed the victim down. She took a gold chain from the victim’s neck and fled in the vehicle.

On February 14, in the late morning hours, an elderly woman was walking on Crestview Avenue, when a white car pulled up, and a female suspect exited the vehicle and approached her. The suspect began speaking and put her hand on the victim’s forehead and neck, but the victim did not understand what she was saying, as she did not speak English. The suspect got back in the car, at which time the victim realized that her necklace was missing.

There appears to be more than one suspect involved, and therefore, difficult to provide a distinct description, police said.

The Abbotsford Police is reminding the public to talk to their family members and be cognizant of those around them, making sure they do not allow strangers into their personal space. Should they be approached by anyone who tries to offer jewellery or place jewelry on them, tell them to stay away and call your local police agency through 9-1-1.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.