Hamilton police are urging residents to be cautious amid a rise in high-end winter jacket thefts in the city.
Police say 13 people have been targeted for their winter coats in the downtown area and west Hamilton neighbourhoods over the past few weeks.
Investigators say the victims, who were generally wearing Canada Goose- or Moose Knuckle-brand jackets, were swarmed by a group of young people in some cases, or threatened with a weapon in other cases.
The coats are then sold through word-of-mouth or through social media platforms, according to police.
Police spokesperson Jackie Penman says there seems to be “no rhyme or reason” to where or when the thefts take place, aside from them happening mainly downtown and in the west end. She says some happened “brazenly” during the day, while others happened at night.
Some arrests have been made, but police say the accused cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Hamilton police say the best way to avoid being a target is to avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and follow safe routes along busy, well-lit streets.
They also recommend reporting thefts to police as soon as possible.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Central Criminal Investigation Division at 905-546-3833, email email@example.com, or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers Hamilton by web or by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).