Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying purse and wallet thieves after a series of such incidents in Halton region.
The law enforcement force has identified a group of six different suspects involved in 16 thefts between April 2021 and March 2022.
The suspects, whose pictures were released by Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), typically target older adults in retail and grocery stores throughout the region.
They follow the modus operandi of working in pairs and distracting their victims while shopping. One suspect will engage the victim in conversation while the other steals a wallet and/ or purse. In some instances, the older adult’s vehicles are also entered while one suspect distracts the victim by loading their groceries.
In many cases the victim’s personal identification number were also stolen, and the tap functions of their financial cards were used to make fraudulent purchases, according to a police statement.
The estimated total losses of these 16 occurrences totals more than $25,000.
“It is definitely serious, and scary!” says Chun Fung, a Chinese immigrant who moved to Halton last year for work. “Now I can’t trust anyone out there, and this makes me feel unsafe here,” she added.
For 71-year-old Yamna Sicoli from Milton, it is simply “not acceptable.” However, she appreciated the police efforts, saying “those people need to be published who are making women feel unsafe on the street.”
Sicoli hopes the culprits will be caught soon.
HRPS has tasked Detective Constable Derek Gray of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau to collect information regarding this investigation. He can be contacted at 905 825-4777 ext. 2344 or via email at Derek.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. [1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.]