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Con artists targeting Tri-City seniors
Tri-City seniors are being warned by police after con artists targeted — and stole — from three elderly people.
The first scam happened Aug. 13 when a man asked for directions from a 76-year-old woman at the corner of Durant Drive and Johnson Street; the man said he wanted to get to the hospital.
When he got his answer, a woman in a nearby grey vehicle got out and thanked the senior for her assistance, placing on her a necklace despite repeated protests. When the pair left, the senior realized her 24-karat gold necklace with a pendant had vanished.
The next day, a senior in Port Coquitlam had the same trick played on her.
The 61-year-old woman was near Hastings Street and Battistoni Place when she was approached by a woman who tried to sell her a gold necklace; the suspect claimed it was to raise money.
The senior pushed away the woman when she attempted to place the jewellery around her neck. The suspect then put the necklace in the senior's hand and left the scene. Later, the senior discovered the gold necklace with a gold religious charm that she was wearing was gone.
And on Sunday afternoon, a tearful woman in a wheelchair rolled up to an 85-year-old man outside of Coquitlam Centre mall claiming she had no cash to get to Vancouver General Hospital to see her injured children.
He went inside the mall to call her a cab but when he returned with $100 for the taxi driver, two men were close by the wheelchair-bound woman. She and one of the men got into the taxi but, a short distance later, they demanded the $100 back from the driver and fled the vehicle.
In the necklace scams, the suspects are described as having appearing to be Middle Eastern. The male suspect is in his 40s, about 5'8" tall with an average build, a round face and a moustache; the female suspect is in her late 30s, about 5'4" tall with a medium build and dark, shoulder-length hair.
In the taxi incident, the suspects are described as being Caucasian. The female suspect is in her late 40s or early 50s, 140 lb. with pale blue eyes and short sandy-brown, ear-length hair. The two male suspects are in their late 20s, about 6' tall and each weighing 170 lb. with slim builds. One called himself "John."
"Being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions are the best defenses against being victimized by con artists," Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung said in a news release yesterday (Tuesday).
Anyone with information on the three scams are asked to call the detachment at 604-945-1550.