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Thieves rely on distraction – keep your eyes open


3 minute read

April 16, 2019

The Edmonton Police Service is once again alerting the public after receiving several recent reports of distraction style thefts.

In mid-March, the Edmonton Police Service issued a media release warning the public of distraction style thefts targeting seniors. Since Thursday, April 11, 2019, police have received five additional reports of similar thefts citywide and investigators believe the thieves are now targeting citizens of all ages.

The thieves typically approach complainants along the road side or in parking lots, using various tactics to distract them. In some instances, thieves reportedly approached citizens and attempted to sell them fake gold jewelry or asked to see the real jewelry they were wearing. Often the thieves place the fake gold jewelry on them during this interaction. In other instances, thieves have reportedly offered fake gold jewelry in exchange for money for gas. Thieves have also allegedly dropped money on the ground and then approached complainants to tell them they dropped the cash, offering to help them pick it up.  During each interaction, the thieves use a sleight of hand to remove the complainant’s real jewelry or remove their credit and debit cards from open wallets.

Investigators believe the recent incidents are linked and may involve the same suspects. Complainants have been approached by a male, a male and a female or two males, all of whom are described as having a dark skin tone, dark hair and heavy accents that may be Eastern European or Middle Eastern. One of the males was also described as having a beard or goatee.

Detectives continue to actively investigate these incidents and believe there may be additional complainants. Anyone who has been victimized in a similar way is encouraged come forward and contact police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at

Police are also reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings when in parking lots and to be extra vigilant if approached suddenly by strangers, in particular those who may be trying to give away or sell something. Citizens are advised to look around when approaching theirs vehicles and, if they notice suspicious individuals approaching, change direction and proceed to the nearest public area.


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