Richmond RCMP say woman arrested at YVR may be part of airport crime ring

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The woman was nabbed Wednesday at Vancouver International Airport after plainclothes officers witnessed her allegedly stealing a purseSCOTT BROWN Updated: April 18, 2019S

Richmond RCMP have arrested a 60-year-old woman who they believe is part of an international airport theft ring.

The woman was nabbed Wednesday morning at Vancouver International Airport after plainclothes officers allege they witnessed her stealing a purse from a passenger in the international arrivals terminal.

Police believe the woman, who is foreign national, may be part of a larger, organized theft group that travels from airport to airport.

Miriam Fajardo has been charged with one count of theft under $5,000 and one count of wilfully resisting or obstructing a police officer.

The RCMP is working with other law enforcement agencies on establishing possible links between the woman and other thefts.

For the past month, Richmond RCMP has been using plainclothes teams from its YVR detachment to conduct surveillance on these types of crimes.

“Suspects that specialize in this work generally work in teams and employ techniques to divert attention from their true purpose: to steal valuables away from their owners. They are acute observers of people’s behaviour and their habits. They are often difficult to identify and detect as they are extremely good at their craft,”  Insp. Keith Bramhill, Richmond RCMP’s YVR operations officer, said in a release.

“If a theft has been reported, it is largely after the fact. The suspect or suspects have long since vanished with police working hard to play catch up. We are fortunate to have experienced officers that knew exactly what to look for. Their timing was impeccable.”

Fajardo is next scheduled to appear in Richmond Provincial Court on April 23.