Thieves who use distraction techniques to steal jewelry off their victims are back in Abbotsford, but this time they are getting violent, police say.
Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird said the thieves are most often female and have been targeting elderly pedestrians.
She said the culprits make physical contact with the unknowing victim to convince them to try on fake jewelry and then use a “slight-of-hand maneuver” to steal their real jewelry.
Bird said one incident took place on Monday, Feb. 10 in the late-morning hours. A woman was walking on Cardinal Avenue in west Abbotsford when a grey vehicle pulled up behind her.
A woman got out of the vehicle, pushed the victim down, took a gold chain from her neck and fled in the vehicle. The victim struck her head on some fencing as she was pushed down, Bird said.
Another incident took place today (Friday), also in the late morning, when an elderly woman was walking on Crestview Avenue, also in west Abbotsford.
Bird said a white car pulled up and a woman got out of the vehicle and approached the senior.
“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,” Bird said.
The culprit got back in the car, at which time the victim realized that her necklace was missing.
Bird said it appears that more than one suspect is involved, making it difficult to provide a distinct description.
There have been several prior occasions of these types of thefts taking place in Abbotsford and throughout the Lower Mainland.
Bird advised anyone who is approached by someone offering them jewelry or who tries to place jewelry on them to tell them to say away and call 911.
Anyone with information is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.