Distraction theft costs elderly woman her gold necklace: Barrie Police

Police allege the necklace was removed from the senior when a woman offered her a hug for providing directions

Barrie Police are searching for a suspect after they say an elderly female was the victim of a bizarre distraction theft on her own property.

Officers headed to the residence in the northeast part of the city on Wednesday afternoon where they were told the senior was approached by a woman seeking directions to a big-box drugstore.

After providing directions, the victim said the female gave her a gold-coloured ring as a token of appreciation and then asked her for a hug, to which the victim complied. Police say that’s when the suspect allegedly removed a gold necklace from around her neck and replaced it with one that was fake.

Police say the necklace had both monetary and sentimental value.

The female is described as Middle Eastern, in her 40s, with a heavy build and dark medium-length hair, wearing a beige and white shirt. She was accompanied by a man, also Middle Eastern and in his 40s, with thin, dark hair and a full beard and moustache.

Police say they have examined video surveillance and the male never left the vehicle he was in, described as a black mid-sized SUV.

“The Barrie Police Service is warning the public of this incident so that no one else becomes a victim and that seniors in particular, are aware of this scheme and the components that go into it. Police are reminding the public that a stranger is a stranger, no matter how old you are and if a stranger offers you a hug, simply turn down the request, turn and walk away,” police said in a news release on Thursday.