Vancouver Police are cautioning elderly residents to be wary of a friendly and persuasive con-man who’s been talking his way into homes throughout the city, then making off with cash and valuables.
VPD detectives are investigating multiple reports of the man, who knocks on doors and approaches seniors in their yards, strikes up conversation, then steals from them once their guard is down.
“This thief is smooth and conniving, and he’s been preying on the good nature of Vancouver seniors,” says Const. Steve Addison, VPD. “We’re working hard to solve these crimes, and we’re asking residents to be extra vigilant until we do.”
VPD is investigating 12 incidents since late July, the most recent one occurring yesterday morning near Nanaimo Street in the city’s Grandview-Woodlands area. Incidents have occurred throughout the city, and police investigators believe the suspect may be moving throughout the Lower Mainland.
#WVPDCommunications - Can you identify this man? It may assist investigators who are looking into recent distraction thefts where seniors are the primary target. See https://t.co/RP5tLKmyg2 for details. pic.twitter.com/0dz0IQsEW9— West Vancouver PD (@WestVanPolice) August 22, 2019
Typically, the man approaches seniors in their yards or at their front doors and uses a ruse to talk his way inside. In some cases he has claimed to be a neighbour locked out of his residence and needing to use the phone. In others, he’s posed as a canvasser for local charities. Once inside, he waits until his victims are distracted, then pockets cash or other valuable items.
“In most cases the victims don’t even realize they’ve been scammed until much later,” says Const. Addison. “Unfortunately, by that time the suspect is long gone.”
The suspect has been described as a friendly and well-groomed white man in his 40s. He has a medium build and stands about 5’11” with brown hair.
VPD encourages residents to have conversations with elderly family members to ensure they don’t fall victim to this smooth-talking scammer.
Anyone who sees this man should call 9-1-1 immediately so officers can investigate.