The Ottawa Police Service is investigating a number of distraction thefts throughout the east end of the city, targeting seniors.
Officers say the thefts have been happening near retail locations, and investigators have identified 30 known cases in the past few months.
Victims are approached by the suspects in public areas such as parking lots. The suspects offer a form of assistance to the targeted victims, such as an offer to help carry things, they might tell the victim they dropped money, or point out an issue with the victim's vehicle. While the victim is distracted, the suspects either steal their debit or credit cards, or forcefully remove the victim's jewellery, depending on the circumstances.
The suspects appear to work in groups of two or more and are a combination of men and women.
Ottawa police are reminding people to remain vigilant as a potential victim or witness to their surroundings, and immediately report any suspicious encounters to the Ottawa Police Service.
Investigators also remind residents to remember to hide their PIN numbers when using debit or credit cards, and lock vehicles with keys in hand, even if only stepping away for a brief period.
Anyone with information about this type of distraction thefts can contact the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa Police app.