77-year-old man dragged alongside moving vehicle in Vaughan robbery: police

Police say they have arrested and charged two suspects in connection with a series of thefts and robberies in Vaughan. Handout / York Regional Police

Two people have been charged after a series of distraction-style thefts in Vaughan, including one in which a 77-year-old victim was dragged alongside a moving vehicle, police say.

In a news release issued Friday, York Regional Police said at around 6 p.m. on May 29 and May 31, two individuals in an SUV pulled up to people who were out walking.

The suspects started conversations with them, asked them for directions and during the interactions, attempted to give the victims “cheap costume jewelry” by placing it on their hand or neck, police said.

“They used this distraction to attempt to remove the victims’ valuable jewelry. When their attempts failed, the suspects used force,” the release said.

Click to play video: '‘They can clean you completely out’: Seniors being defrauded using distraction technique'
‘They can clean you completely out’: Seniors being defrauded using distraction technique

In the first incident, which was on Chelwood Drive, around the Dufferin and Centre streets area, a 77-year-old man was “held and dragged” along a moving vehicle while the suspects tried to remove his jewelry, police said.

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Police said in the second incident, which was on Flamingo Road in the Bathurst Street and Highway 407 area, a 63-year-old woman was assaulted. She suffered minor injuries.

In both cases where the victims were reportedly assaulted, police said the suspects got away with valuable jewelry.

Police said a third incident happened on June 5 at 12:25 p.m. in a parking lot in the Jane Street and Rutherford Road area.

Two suspects in a silver Ford Escape approached a 62-year-old man and asked for directions.

“After he answered, a female suspect expressed appreciation and placed a cheap necklace around the victim’s neck while deftly removing his valuable necklace,” the release said.

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The suspects then drove away but were arrested soon after by police who were in the area, officers said.

The vehicle was searched and the man’s gold necklace was allegedly found along with a quantity of jewelry.

Police said all three incidents have been linked to the same suspects.

Twenty-six-year-old Toronto residents Nicolae Oinescu and Isaura Alesandru have been charged with two counts of robbery, as well as theft under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.

“Investigators are releasing the photos of the accused as it is believed they have been active in York Region, along with other suspects, committing similar crimes,” police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

Police advised the public to “be wary” and consider keeping a safe distance away from strangers asking for directions or starting unexpected conversations.

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