Police warn of ‘crime wave’ of wallet thefts in Saanich and West Shore

Police are warning people to be careful after a spate of crimes they describe as ‘distraction thefts’ occurred in parking lots at Capital Region shopping malls.

On May 27, Angie Edroff finished withdrawing cash from an ATM at Broadmead Shopping Centre.

Although a woman nearby made her suspicious, Edroff continued.

“At Canadian Tire, I had the funny feeling that someone behind me was up to something,” Edroff said.

But she didn’t notice until she got back to her vehicle and the money she had put in the outside pocket of her purse was gone.

According to the police, the theft could be linked to other similar incidents.

On June 3, also in Broadmead, a woman finished shopping with her baby, but before she could leave she was stopped by an unknown person.

“Then he frantically bangs on the window telling the driver there’s something wrong with his tire,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades with Saanich Police.

She got out to check, noticed bedbugs in her tire, then got back behind the wheel, and that’s when she noticed her wallet was missing.

Then, on June 4, Saanich Police and West Shore RCMP received reports of similar wallet thefts an hour apart in Uptown and the Langford Walmart.

The same type of crime happened earlier in the Lower Mainland.

Anastasiades said they were looking for two men.

“They work here and have done a small series of crimes,” Anastasiades said. “The best thing we can do is let everyone know this scam is happening and hopefully prevent more.”

And they say there may be a link to other thefts, according to Anastasiades.

“The thumbtack distraction, the pickpocket, it seems to be one and the same thing,” Anastasiades said. “But we cannot link the suspects to all of these crimes.”

Police say they want to let everyone know this scam is happening and hopefully prevent future thefts from happening.

READ MORE: Lottery scam costs elderly Nanaimo couple nearly $400,000: RCMP

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