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Barrie police warn residents not to hug strangers after 'bizarre theft'

Barrie police detachment (Mike Arsalides/CTV News) Barrie police detachment (Mike Arsalides/CTV News)
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Police in Barrie are warning the public about a "bizarre theft" where the suspects targeted a senior on her property outside her home.

According to police, an unknown woman approached the victim on Wednesday afternoon around 2:30 in a northeast neighbourhood and asked for directions to a drug store.

Police say the suspect offered the senior a gold-coloured ring "as a token of appreciation" for the directions and asked for a hug.

"When the victim complied, the female quickly removed a gold necklace from around her neck and replaced it with one that was a fake," police noted.

Police say these types of distraction thefts have been common in jurisdictions south of Barrie.

"In this case, the victim was relieved of a gold chain that had both monetary and sentimental value," the service added.

Police say the suspect is described as Middle Eastern, in her 40s, with a heavy build and medium-length dark hair. She wore a beige and white shirt.

They say she was with a man, also Middle Eastern, in his 40s, with thin, dark hair and a full beard and moustache, who never left the vehicle, described as a black mid-sized SUV.

Police want the public, particularly seniors, to be aware of this scheme "so that no one else becomes a victim."

"Police are reminding the public that a stranger is a stranger, no matter how old you are and if a stranger offers you a hug, simply turn down the request, turn and walk away," the service concluded.

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