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Toronto police warn of jewelry scam targeting seniors

By Arthur Weinreb     May 31, 2012 in Crime
Toronto - After three seniors had gold jewelry stolen, police are warning people not to allow strangers to place jewelry around their necks or on their arms, and to be wary of being approached on the street by people who claim they have jewelry to sell.
According to police [PDF], the first incident occurred on May 14 in the city's east end. A man sitting in his vehicle and waiting for his wife to come out of a drug store was approached by three women. They asked him if he wanted to buy some jewelry. While asking, one of the women placed a gold necklace on the man's neck while a second woman placed a bracelet on the victim's arm.
Apparently not interested, the women took the necklace and the bracelet off. The man was already wearing a gold chain and a gold bracelet and while removing the items purportedly for sale, the women took his jewelry off as well.
Two days later, a woman was sitting in her car when she was approached by two men and a woman. One man began a conversation with the victim, telling her his mother had died the previous year and then he asked her to pray with him. While distracting the woman in this manner, the woman placed a bracelet on the arm of the victim who was already wearing two gold bangles. At some point, the woman removed the bracelet from the victim's arm and took the bangles as well.
The same day, a man and a woman approached a blind man walking in the area where the previous theft that day took place. The man told the victim that his mother had died and that he had a present for him. The woman then placed a gold chain on his neck. Later the chain was removed along with the one that victim was already wearing.
Const. Wendy Drummond, a spokeswoman for the Toronto Police Service, was quoted in the Toronto Sun as saying, The fact that we've had three already suggests there could be more victims. It could be a situation where someone didn't realize they were a victim for a couple of hours or days before they realized their necklace or bracelet is gone.
People should be cautious when they are approached by strangers on the street who say they have jewelry to sell or give away. And the public is also warned to be careful when allowing a complete stranger to put jewelry on them or take it off.
Police have not released a description of the suspects.
More about Toronto police service, scams targeting seniors, jewelry thief, Scams
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