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Police near Toronto warn of uptick in pickpockets and share video revealing their bold tricks

Shopping malls around Toronto have apparently been a hot place for pickpocketing lately, with York Regional Police issuing a warning to residents on Thursday about a slew of recent incidents — as well as a video showing how, exactly, these criminals operate.

"York Regional Police would like to remind citizens to be cautious when engaged by strangers in public places following an investigation and charges laid into a number of recent distraction thefts in the City of Vaughan," the force writes in a release.

"From fall 2021 into early 2022, officers have received an increase in theft reports occurring at shopping locations."

According to reports, the crimes were mostly targeting women who were shopping between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The thieves used clever tactics to block themselves from cameras and witnesses as they casually reached into purses and pockets to nab wallets, cell phones and other valuables.

In the attached footage, two individuals can be seen working in tandem, using piles of clothing on hangers to shield their busy hands from view.

In the three events shown, the pickpockets were so sneaky that the victims were completely unaware of what was happening, often sufficiently distracted by one of the duo so as not to notice the other slipping something from their purse.

The suspects' boldness is really something as they reach into bags women are holding against their bodies with zero hesitation, getting in nice and close and even brushing against them to do so.

Fortunately, the multiple perpetrators in the footage have already been caught and are currently facing charges — but their tricks are definitely common of the trade and are ones that shoppers should keep an eye out for.

Lead photo by

York Regional Police


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