Police are reminding residents to keep their personal items within eyesight while shopping and keep all zippers closed and pockets buttoned after arresting six people and laying 41 charges following a series of distraction thefts.

In an incident on Feb. 26, a woman was shopping at a grocery store on Markham Road in the City of Markham. While she was looking at items, a man approached her and asked a question, causing her to be distracted from her purse in her shopping cart. A woman then approached and grabbed her wallet from inside her purse. The victim didn’t notice her wallet was missing until she attempted to pay for her groceries. The suspects used the victim’s cards at other locations.

Ribana Galatanu, 43, Isaura Durbala, 27, and Marian Sfetcu, 29, all of Markham; Oana Tatarus, 29, and Ioana Iordache, 33, both of Toronto; and Suraj Bratianu, 41, of North York face numerous charges, including theft under $5,000, fraud under $5,000, use of credit card and shoplifting under $5,000.

“Criminals are opportunists,” say York Regional Police, in a news release. “Don’t give them the opportunity to make you a victim of crime. They offer these tips:

  • If you’ve purchased a big-ticket electronic item, don’t leave it in your car and return shopping. Arrange to pick up the items once you complete your shopping.
  • Always be alert and be aware of the actions people around you.
  • Call police immediately if you witness any suspicious people or activity.

Anyone with information on this incident, or if you have been a victim of this type of theft, contact the York Regional Police Criminal Investigation Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7541, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or leave an anonymous tip online at 1800222tips.com.