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OS Police cuffsThe Owen Sound Police Service has completed their investigation into occurrences of Theft and Fraud that were committed in the city in April 2019.

A suspect has been arrested and charged for his involvement in a string of offences where similar techniques were used in other jurisdictions including Durham Region, Halton Region, Cobourg, Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston and in area’s policed by the O.P.P.

The 38 year old man, who does not reside in our area, was held in custody in Durham Region and now faces numerous charges for his involvement in the thefts and frauds.

Viorel Nematu has been charged with eight criminal offences that occurred in Owen Sound including the offences of:

Theft, Fraud, Identity Theft, Attempted Fraud and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.

The accused will be facing a lengthy list of criminal charges in other jurisdictions in relation to similar fact cases that he is alleged to have committed outside of Owen Sound.

We thank the public for their assistance in this case.

On Tuesday April 23, 2019 police responded to a call for service where a 67 year old woman reported that she had been the victim of a theft known as a ‘sleight-of-hand’.

At approximately 2:00 p.m, the victim made an interac debit purchase at a local business and believed that an unknown woman was attempting to watch her enter her PIN (personal identification number) into the keypad at the register. The victim exited the store and was approached by a man in the parking lot who attempted to give her a $10.00 and a $20.00 bill claiming that she had dropped the money.

The man was adamant she place the currency in her wallet and began touching her wallet showing the victim where the money should go. It is believed a sleight-of-hand theft occurred when the man removed the victim’s bank card from the front portion of her wallet. The bank card was later used at a Toronto Dominion ATM where a total of $980.00 was withdrawn. The bank card was then presented at a financial institution in Owen Sound, where a total of $974.43 was withdrawn for a purchase of $700.00 in American currency.

We remind the public that criminals are often clever and use many methods to commit crimes. Some tips that you should always consider to protect yourself from theft and fraud:

- Always cover your PIN when pressing the numbers on the debit key pad or when at a bank machine

- Never write your PIN on a paper that you carry with your debit or credit card

- Consider a TAP feature for your card instead of a PIN requirement for purchases

- Always request a paper receipt for a debit or credit purchase

- Never allow anyone to distract you while entering a PIN at the store or at the bank machine

- Never allow an unknown person to assist you with your wallet, purse or handbag if you didn’t ask them for their help

- Do not allow a suspect to confuse you with kind words or insistence that they are trying to help

- If you believe that someone has watched you enter a PIN, change your number as soon as possible or call the telephone number on the back of your card and inform your bank’s security official

source: media release, OSPS

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