A string of bizarre thefts at the Vancouver International Airport and around Richmond prompted the RCMP to warn the public about “distraction thieves.”
The thieves will use methods like puncturing a tire to get the victim out of the car to check the damage, spraying paint or spilling ketchup or a drink on the victim’s clothes and then stealing their wallets or purses.
The perpetrators largely target banks or other financial institutes while people are making withdrawals. Travellers at YVR have also been targeted.
“The Richmond RCMP Airport Crime Unit was successful in arresting a male in conjunction with an investigation of an organized distraction theft group working at YVR,” said Corporal Dennis Hwang in a statement.
“The Richmond RCMP is working with our fellow law enforcement agencies and our partners at YVR to identify and arrest those responsible for these types of crimes.”
The thieves might also throw a $5 or $10 bill on the ground claiming that the victim dropped it as another method of distraction.
The Richmond RCMP recommends being vigilant and taking the following steps to prevent these crimes from happening to you:
- Don’t carry cash in your wallet or purse – keep it separate
- Be aware of your surroundings
- If you’re a traveller, be vigilant about your bags
- Contact the police ASAP if you notice any suspicious behaviour