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Arrest made at YVR in suspected theft ring

By Martin van den Hemel

Published 3:27 PDT, Thu April 18, 2019

A 60-year-old woman is in police custody and facing theft charges following her arrest at Vancouver International Airport Wednesday after Richmond RCMP launched an investigation into a suspected theft ring travelling between airports.

Is this an international ring? Police aren’t saying at this point, as the investigation is ongoing, but they did release a few other details.

The suspect was arrested shortly before 10 a.m. when she was seen allegedly stealing a purse from a passenger in the international arrivals terminal at YVR.

Richmond RCMP Cpl. Dennis Hwang said the suspect is a foreign national who is “believed to be part of a larger, organized theft group travelling from airport to airport.”

He wouldn’t elaborate on whether this was a local or regional ring, or if it extended internationally.

The RCMP investigation was launched in March when plainclothes officers at YVR began to conduct surveillance into these types of crimes.

Investigators are looking into multiple incidents of theft linked to the suspect.

“A number of law enforcement agencies beside the RCMP are interested in the accused and have been assisting us in our investigation,” Hwang said.

RCMP Insp. Keith Bramhill said this type of investigation has its challenges.

“Suspects that specialize in this work generally work in teams and employ techniques to divert attention from their true purpose—to steal valuables aways from their owners. They are acute observers of people’s behaviour and their habits. They are often difficult to identify and detect as they are extremely good at their craft,” he said. “If a theft has been reported, it is largely after the fact. The suspect or suspects have long since vanished with police working hard to play catch up.”

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