Three suspects charged after string of distraction thefts in Durham and Calgary
Published Monday, October 28, 2019 3:24PM EDT
Three suspects are facing numerous fraud-related charges in connection with a string of distraction thefts that took place in Durham Region and Calgary.
Durham Regional Police began an investigation called “Project Lucid” after multiple people reported similar types of distraction theft incidents in August and September of this year.
The first reported incident in Durham occurred around 11 a.m. on Aug. 6 at a Walmart on Kingston Road East in Ajax. Police said that a female suspect approached a woman and told her she had dropped a $20 bill on the floor.
“During this distraction, a second suspect removed a credit card from her purse,” police said in a news release issued Monday. “The victim realized later that her credit card was missing and numerous withdrawals were made using her card.”
Investigators did not say how many similar incidents had been reported to police.
On Sunday, three suspects were taken into custody at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Police said they were all in possession of Romanian passports.
Persida Corciu, 43, Andrei Preda, 33, and Petrache Dadaci, 48, face a combined 114 charges, including theft of a credit card, possessing identity information, fraud under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and identity fraud.
Durham police said that the arrests were made with the assistance of both Peel Regional Police and the Calgary Police Service.
Last week, Calgary police issued a news release warning residents of a similar distraction thefts. They said that the suspects approached victims, often in the parking lot of a retail store, and tell them they have dropped a $20 bill on the ground.
The victim’s credit or debit card would then be stolen.
Investigators identified six people, including two of the suspects arrested in Durham, in connection with the thefts. Corciu and Dadaci are facing an additional 30 charges each, laid by Calgary police.
The charges have not been proven in court.