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Police warn of increase in distraction thefts

With spring just around the corner Toronto police are issuing a public alert regarding a recent increase in the number of distraction thefts in the city of Toronto.  Investigators say as the weather gets warmer these types of thefts are likely to increase.

 "We're making this appeal today as spring is just around the corner meaning people will be spending more time outdoors wearing lighter clothing making these types of fast much easier to commit."said Detective Wes Neil of 41 Division.

 Investigators say the suspects are usually women who targeted senior citizens out alone in busy areas like malls and plazas.  The suspects often use an excuse to get close to the victim including asking for directions or telling them they remind them of the deceased loved one.  The suspects pretend to be so grateful that they offer the victim a piece of fake jewelry often placing it on the victim before they have time to react.  Police say that's when they removed the victims real jewelry and take off.  At times the victims don't realize what had happened until hours later and are left devastated and embarrassed. 

 Toronto police are warning the public to protect their personal space and be aware of their surroundings.  Investigators say you should speak to any elderly relatives or friends and warn them that there are people out there targeting seniors and swiping their jewelry for fake jewelry.

 "I think the Most important thing is a lot if these incidents happened in crowded areas like I said in shopping malls in plaza parking lots.  I think the key is to protect your personal space.  A lot of these things are done, like I said, sleight-of-hand wizards that come in there's not a lot of racket made or  attention drawn to them.  Protect your personal space.  If you have to wear jewelry try and cover it up."said Detective Neil.

41 Division has had 17 distraction thefts since November.

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