A brazen thief who has been snatching jewelry off of women in Newton remains on the loose.
And there have been at least three more victims since police appealed earlier this month for help in putting a stop to the crimes.
“We have a total of seven cases now,” Cpl. Bert Paquet said.
Police first issued an advisory Oct. 4, cautioning women against flaunting their valuables in public after four reported that bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry had been ripped from their necks and wrists in broad daylight. Those incidents – all of which occurred outside, in the afternoon hours and “a little off the beaten path” in various areas of Newton – took place between Sept. 23 and Oct. 2.
Since then, another three incidents have been logged; the last on Oct. 11.
Paquet confirmed that while all of the victims have been older South Asian women, police do not believe it is the culture that is catching the perpetrator’s eye.
“That’s definitely a clue in the investigation, but we still believe it’s the jewelry that is targeted first,” he said.
“It’s still a crime of opportunity.”
The spree is now being investigated by officers with Surrey RCMP’s robbery section.
Paquet said police have identified a person of interest, but there have been no arrests as yet.
All of the victims have provided a similar description of the thief: a Caucasian man in his 40s with a slim build and white hair. At least three also reported that a dark-blue/green, older-model minivan was used as a getaway vehicle.
Paquet said an initial cautionary message to potential victims hasn’t changed:
“Be cognizant of your surroundings and exercise judgment if you’re going to wear expensive jewelry in public,” he said.
Police determination to stop the spree also hasn’t wavered.
“Until it stops… we will pursue our investigation.”
Anyone with information about the person responsible, or who has been a victim of a similar crime, is urged to call police at 604-599-0502. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.