Mission Mounties have arrested a couple who were using a baby to help them steal from elderly victims across the Fraser Valley, including in Langley recently.
The 47-year-old man and 21-year-old woman, both of Abbotsford, are suspects in a series of distraction thefts targeting elderly victims over the last year, said RCMP. The pair are well known to police.
During Seniors Week in Langley (June 2-8), several seniors were victims of this scam, confirm Langley RCMP.
“We’ve had eight distraction thefts here,” said Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Holly Marks.
Locally, the suspects targeted elderly women out grocery shopping. The suspects follow the potential victim home and then approach the victim, carrying their baby and either asking for water for an overheated car or for water to heat a baby bottle, said Langley RCMP.
While the victim goes to get the water, the suspects make off with whatever they can grab at the door, usually wallets or purses.
Police say the pair preyed on people’s good nature.
On Wednesday, June 11, Mission RCMP received a call from a resident who said his 72-year-old mother had been approached at their home by a man and woman with a baby.
The couple stated they needed water for their vehicle which had broken down. However, the elderly resident had read about the scam in the local newspaper.
The resident watched the couple closely and did not give them an opportunity to steal any items, said Mission RCMP Sgt. Shaun Wright.
The resident called Mission RCMP and said the couple left in a newer model silver Dodge Caravan with no licence plates.
“The coverage of this series of thefts by the local media and the alertness of these residents were instrumental in assisting police in apprehending these suspects,” said Wright.
About an hour later the Mounties received another call from a 73-year-old Deroche resident that a couple with a baby in a grey van had come to his home and asked for water as their vehicle was overheating. When the resident returned after retrieving the requested water it was found that his 83-year-old wife’s purse had been stolen.
Less than 10 minutes later, Mission police observed a vehicle matching the suspect description provided by the both victims.
Police stopped the vehicle and arrested the pair.
A one-year-old child was also in the vehicle. The Ministry of Children and Families was contacted regarding care of the child.
The driver was identified as Donald Quinnell who is well known to police. The passenger was identified as Krisztina Krakoski who is also known to police.
Police recovered several items of stolen property from within the van, including identification stolen from the victim in Deroche.
The van was traced back to local auto dealer, said Wright. The suspects had gone to the auto dealer suspected of pretending to be interested in buying the vehicle and using it to commit the thefts.
Both were charged with theft under $5,000 and released with several bail conditions.