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2 arrested in Vancouver after recent spike in distraction thefts

Two suspects have been arrested following what Vancouver police say is a recent spike in reports of distraction thefts. Global News file photo

Vancouver police have arrested two suspects after a recent spike in distraction thefts.

Const. Jason Doucette says there were around eight reported cases of theft between March 20 and 22.

“We do see these every now and then — when they spike until someone’s caught and then they die right off — and we don’t know if there’s more than one group, if they’re leaving town and moving on,” said Doucette.

READ MORE: Hold onto your jewelry: Police in Vancouver, Abbotsford warn of spike in ‘distraction thefts’

He says the reported thefts are all similar in nature, with a suspect distracting a victim in order to steal something on their person.

“This particular group has been targeting seniors. No reports of any violence, but they go in, get into your personal space, start reaching around and comparing necklaces and jewelry and they take off before the person even knows they’ve been taken advantage of,” Doucette explained.

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He said two suspects were arrested after an alleged theft on March 22.

“Vancouver police have not received any additional reports of similar incidents since these people were arrested,” Doucette said.

READ MORE: Be wary of ‘switcheroo’ thefts, B.C. police warn after recent incidents

Police say Crown counsel has approved charges of theft and possession of stolen property against 41-year-old Elena Ghiocel, and 31-year-old Constanin Miclescu.

Both suspects are residents of Scarborough, Ont., and are in custody.

A third person who was arrested at the time has been released pending further investigation.