Date:    Feb 17

File #:   2016-5542

Victoria, BC –Officers are investigating a “distraction technique” debit card theft which resulted in a Victoria woman losing $1,600.  Officers were struck by how quickly the culprits moved, making fraudulent purchases on the stolen card minutes after the theft.

On February 6, VicPD Patrol members were called after a woman noted three fraudulent online banking transactions.  Further investigation revealed that the women had been shopping at a grocery store in the 1500-block of Hillside Avenue.  She had just left the store when two men approached her and asked for directions to Royal Jubilee Hospital. One of the men was holding a map of Victoria and stood close to the woman wanting her to show him the location of the hospital on the map.  While she was pointing to the location of the hospital on the map, the woman then felt a “nudge” on her side where the other man was standing.  When she turned to look at this second man he was standing what she described as “uncomfortably close” to her and he quickly turned away.  After getting directions, both men said goodbye and left the area.

About 45 minutes later,  the woman realized that her debit cards were missing, but thought that she may have misplaced them.  Upon returning home she checked her online banking and found 3 transactions, totaling over $1,600, made just a few minutes after she left the shopping centre. The woman promptly cancelled the cards.

Officers are looking to speak with the two men who approached the victim.  They are described as Caucasian men in their 40s, standing between 5’6” and 5’10” tall, both with  average builds.  At the time of the incident, one man was wearing a leather jacket and a leather cap and had an eastern-European accent. The other man was wearing a grey toque and longer grey jacket.

If you have any information, or know who these men are, please call our non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654. To report what you know anonymously, please call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).