The Ottawa Police Service is investigating over 60 distraction thefts throughout Ottawa pertaining to jewelry, debit and credit cards since July. The suspects have used the following four tactics, which have also been observed in other municipalities in Ontario
Street Distraction- The victim is approached by a suspect, usually in shopping areas often by a female who offers to give them gold jewelry in remembrance of a deceased family member, or as a gift. The suspect places a gold colored necklace over the victim’s neck and quickly removes the victim’s own gold necklace. The victim does not realize the theft has occurred until later.
Family in Need Distraction- Suspect(s) will approach victim and will gives a sympathetic story about a family member being in need. The suspect then offers expensive looking jewelry in exchange for financial assistance which of course is worthless.
Follow the Shopper Distraction- Suspect(s) will position themselves behind a shopper at a cash check-out and memorize the victim’s pin-number. They then follow the victim outside who is deliberately distracted while a second suspect steals the victim’s wallet.
Store Distraction – A store employee is distracted by a member of the group while a female suspect conceals retail goods under a long flowing skirt then leaves the store.
Descriptions of the suspects include both men and women of varying ages, believed to be of Eastern European descent.
If you have information about the identity of the suspects, or any other criminal activity call Crime Stoppers at 613-233-TIPS (8477), toll free at 1-800-222-8477. You can also visit our website www.crimestoppers.ca. You can follow us on facebook, youtube and twitter. Remember Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display, we will not record your call and you are not required to testify in court. If your information leads to an arrest or a charge, you could qualify for a cash reward of up to $2000.