Release Date: February 26, 2024

24-1917/24-2836/24-90514/24-90530

 

Kingston Police along with neighbouring jurisdictions has seen a recent rise in distraction-based thefts. Multiple theft and fraud-based reports have been submitted to police by victims who have unwittingly fallen prey to unscrupulous criminals.

 

Most of the thefts that have occurred in Kingston are generally at large box stores and grocery stores and involve the suspects attempting to perpetrate some form of a ruse in order to distract members of the public. Once distracted another suspect will then steal a wallet or purse from the unsuspecting victim. The suspects then attempt to make large purchases with stolen credit cards and/or withdraw funds from the victim’s bank accounts.

 

The suspects generally acquire the PIN numbers for the victim’s debit/credit cards by standing unnecessarily close behind them at the checkout and within eyeshot of the PIN pad. Stealing PIN numbers can also be accomplished by the suspect pretending to be on their cell phone when they are behind the victim at checkout while actually using the phone to take video of them entering their PIN code for a purchase.

 

Often the suspects involved in these thefts are described as having, what sounds like, eastern European or other noticeably strong accents. These suspects are primarily transient and will attend and target one community prior to moving on to another location.

 

Attached below are pictures of some of the involved suspects. Anyone with information regarding the identity of any of these suspects is asked to please contact Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.

 

You can also provide tips anonymously by calling the Kingston Police general number 613-549-4660 ext. 0 and asking to remain anonymous.

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This network of scam artists and thieves 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. 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 the cash register or 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.