A string of distraction thefts along the Canada Line has resulted in the arrest of two suspects by the Metro Vancouver Transit Police.
Since July 13, Metro Vancouver Transit Police initiated investigations into a total of 10 incidents in which passengers travelling the Canada Line became the victims of two men and a woman using sophisticated distraction techniques and sleight of hand to commit personal thefts within Canada Line stations.
All these incidents were very similar in that one or more people from the group offered their assistance to the victim at the ticket vending machines, passing themselves off as Good Samaritans. Their actual motivation was getting close enough to watch the victim enter their personal identification number (PIN), associated to their credit or debit card, while purchasing their transit fare.
Once the victim entered their PIN and successfully bought a valid fare, other members of the suspect group followed the victim and then distracted him or her in a well-choreographed routine. This could be a bump or nudge or engaging the victim in conversation. The suspect then stole the victim’s wallet or purse. Once in possession of the victim’s debit or credit card, it was used to remove large sums of money and make substantial purchases. In some cases, losses have been in excess of $5,000.
On July 21, at approximately 2 p.m., Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers, on patrol in the Yaletown Canada Line Station, spotted a man and woman they recognized from a police bulletin as suspects involved in the distraction thefts.
Arrested were Ricardo Oprea, 31, and Alina Raducanu, 31, It was determined that both were wanted on Canada-wide immigration warrants and were remanded in custody pending immigration hearings.
Raducanu appeared for her immigration hearing on July 26 and was released. She was arrested by Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers as she left the hearing, interviewed and released the following day on a promise to appear in court in Vancouver on October 11. Charges of theft are pending.
Oprea appeared for his immigration hearing on July 31 and was remanded in custody until a second immigration hearing on August 28.
The third suspect was spotted on video jumping on a train at Yaletown Station while the officers were dealing with Oprea and Raducanu. He has been identified as Auras Yanis Raducanu, 30, for whom there is also an outstanding Canada-wide immigration warrant. Auras Raducanu is believed to be the husband of Alina Raducanu and is described as an eastern European male, average height, slim build, short dark brown hair, brown eyes and dark framed glasses (see photo).
Anyone with any information as to the whereabouts of this suspect, or who believes they may have been the victim of a similar incident, is asked to call the Metro Vancouver Transit Police tip line at 604-516-7419 and refer to file #18-13497 or text us at 87 77 77.
Transit users are reminded to be aware of their surrounding, to always cover the keypad when entering their security PIN and to report anything suspicious to the Metro Vancouver Transit Police as soon as possible.