In a release, police said the arrests are the results of incidents they were first made aware of, which reportedly began on July 13.
A total of 10 different incidents have now been reported, in which passengers travelling the Canada Line have become the victims of two men and a woman using “sophisticated distraction techniques and sleight of hand” to commit thefts within the stations.
“All these incidents are very similar in that one or more people from the group offer their assistance to the victim at the ticket vending machines, passing themselves off as Good Samaritans,” said police.
“Their actual motivation is 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-media.”
Once the victim entered their PIN and successfully bought a valid fare, other members of the suspect group followed the victim and then distract him or her in a “well-choreographed” routine, like a bump or “engaging the victim in conversation.” The suspect would then steal the victim’s wallet or purse.
Once in possession of the victim’s debit or credit card, the suspects used it 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 pm, Transit Police officers on patrol at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station spotted a man and woman they recognized from a police bulletin as suspects involved in the distraction thefts.
Police arrested 31-year-old Ricardo Orea, as well as 31-year-old Alina Raducanu.
“It was determined that both Oprea and Raducanu were wanted on Canada-wide Immigration Warrants and were remanded in custody pending immigration hearings,” police said.
Raducanu appeared for her immigration hearing on July 26 and was released. She was arrested by police as she left the hearing, and then interviewed and released the following day on a Promise to Appear in court 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-Roundhouse Station while the officers were dealing with Oprea and Raducanu.
He has since been identified as 30-year-old Auras Yanis Raducanu, for whom there is also an outstanding Canada-Wide Immigration Warrant. He is believed to be the husband of Alina and is described as an eastern European male, average height, slim build, short dark brown hair, brown eyes, and wears dark framed glasses.
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 or text 87-77-77.