VPD arrest man and woman in connection with 'distraction thefts'

Sep 6 2019, 10:27 am

Calling it a “significant development” case, Vancouver Police announced this week that a 23-year-old man and 18-year-old woman have been arrested in connection with a series of “distraction thefts” against seniors in Vancouver – particularly on the city’s east side.

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In a release, the VPD said officers made the arrest Wednesday afternoon near Kerr Street and East 49th Avenue, not long after a 69-year-old man had his necklace stolen, following an interaction with a man and woman on the street.

“Our detectives are confident these individuals are connected to other distraction thefts in the city,” said VPD Const. Steve Addison.

That said, police “still remind seniors to remain vigilant, and not to let strangers into their personal space.”

The arrests come after police issued a warning last month about distraction thefts in East Vancouver.

“The victims – many of them visible minorities – were each approached in their yards or while walking on the street by a man and woman who tried to give them fake jewelry, then stole real jewelry from the seniors when they were distracted,” police said.

VPD detectives recovered jewelry following Wednesday’s arrest, and have already returned some of those valuables to their rightful owners.

Now, Petre Alexandru and Gratiela Stoian, have been charged with one count each of theft of jewelry, and remain in custody until their next court appearance.

In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing, and police anticipate more charges will be forwarded to Crown counsel.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leave a tip online.