Kingston Police have released the above photos and are looking for those pictured, who are suspects in a fraudulent charges investigation and are believed to be part of a broader network of distraction thieves.
According to a release from Kingston Police, dated Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, the two suspects approached a shopper at a retail store in Kingston at around 9: 30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. While the shopper, referred to by police as the victim, was checking out their items, three male suspects, who were behind the victim in line, moved up closely behind them and it is believed that they were able to see the victim enter their PIN number.
Once outside, the victim, who was loading up their vehicle, was approached by the suspects, police stated. One of the suspects reportedly distracted the victim and averted their attention to what seemed to be a mechanical issue with their vehicle. While this was occurring, the victim’s wallet was stolen by one of the other suspects.
The victim later realized that their credit/debit cards had been used to incur multiple fraudulent charges and contacted police, according to the release.
“On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, a similar incident occurred at a retail store in midtown Kingston involving a separate victim,” Kingston Police said. “This time the victim had exited the store and unloaded their purchases into their vehicle. The victim had also placed their wallet on the passenger side seat of the car. The victim was then approached by three suspects and one of them indicated there was a mechanical issue with the vehicle. While the victim was distracted by one of the suspects their wallet was stolen by one of the other suspects.”
Police reported that again, multiple fraudulent charges were incurred on this victim’s debit/credit cards. While investigating further, police learned that the suspects had what sounded like eastern European accents.
Police are seeking to identify these three suspects, who are believed to be part of a broader network of distraction thieves, and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Stefan Walker at 613-549-4660 ext. 6332 or via email at [email protected].
Those who wish provide a tip but remain anonymous can do so by calling the Kingston Police general number 613-549-4660 ext. 0 and asking to remain anonymous.
“These scam artists tend to prey on vulnerable members of our community including seniors and Kingston Police are issuing a reminder that while out shopping it is important to always be situationally aware and to cover up keypads while entering your PIN numbers at checkout,” police stated in the release. “It is also important to be aware that there are generally multiple crooks involved in these schemes and their goal is to attempt to distract you while you are at your vehicle so that they can steal your valuables. Don’t be tricked by their tactics and call police immediately should you believe that you have been targeted.”