Toronto (October 30, 2019) – Three suspects are facing a total of 114 fraud-related charges in connection with numerous distraction thefts in the Durham Region and Calgary. Persida Corciu (43), Andrei Preda (33), and Petrache Dadaci (48) have been identified by Durham police as a result of Project Lucid, which was created after various incidents occurred using distraction techniques and shoulder-surfing in order to fraudulently obtain PIN numbers and credit cards. The three suspects have been arrested at Pearson International Airport on October 27.
Durham police announced on October 28, the arrest of three suspects who could be identified in connection with numerous distraction thefts in the Durham Region and Calgary as a result of the investigative team Project Lucid. The Durham Police created the investigative team after numerous distraction thefts in the region were reported during August and September of this year.
The suspects are alleged of using various distraction techniques and so-called shoulder-surfing to fraudulently obtain PIN numbers and credit cards. The first reported incident occurred on August 6 at a Walmart in Ajax. The female suspect is accused of approaching a victim, asking her if she had dropped a twenty-dollar bill on the floor. During the distraction, a co-perpetrator is alleged to have stolen a credit card from her purse. At the time, the victim had realized that her credit card was missing, the fraudsters used it already for multiple withdrawals and purchases.
Persida Corciu (43), Andrei Preda (33), and Petrache Dadaci (48) were arrested on October 27 at Pearson International Airport. The three suspects are holding Romanian passports according to the police and are facing a total of 114 fraud-related charges. The charges include: Theft of Credit Card, Possess Identity Information, Fraud Under $5,000, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, and Identity Fraud.
The Calgary police issued a warning of similar distraction thefts on October 24. In the statement, the police identified six suspects in connection to the incidents. Two of the suspects identified by the Calgary Police were among the arrested suspects of Peel Region and Durham Police on October 27.
In order to protect yourself from distraction thefts and shoulder-surfing, the police recommend carrying cash and debit/credit cards separately. Additional advised precautions are:
- Always shield the PIN pad when entering your PIN at any ATM, retail store or financial institution.
- While at an ATM, or paying for merchandise, be aware of anyone standing nearby who can observe you entering your PIN.
- If you encounter someone who says you have dropped money when you have not, proceed to a safe place and report the incident to police.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Hall of the East Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 1614. Anonymous information can be sent to Durham Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca and tipsters may be eligible for a $2,000 cash reward.