Police in York Region are searching for the rightful owners of more than $500,000 worth of stolen jewelry following the apprehension of two suspects.

On June 5, York Regional Police (YRP) arrested and charged Nicolaie Oinescu and Isaura Alesandru, both 26, of Toronto.

Investigators say the pair were allegedly involved in a series of distraction thefts and robberies throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas.

According to the York Regional Police (YRP), the suspects, who operated an SUV, approached elderly victims, engaged them in conversation, and then replaced their real jewelry with cheap costume jewelry.

In some cases, they “used force and assaulted the victims in an attempt to remove the items,” police said.

On June 16, officers executed search warrants and seized more than $500,000 worth of stolen watches, rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and coins.

York Regional Police are now trying to identify the rightful owners of the items and return their belongings to them.

Photos of the recovered jewelry have been posted on Flickr.

Anyone who has fallen victim to one of these thefts and/or anyone who recognizes their jewelry should contact the police.

“Our investigators are sensitive to the fact that some victims may be reluctant to come forward. We are here to help,” YRP said in a June 21 news release.

“We encourage anyone who has been a victim of a distraction theft to contact the police. Friends and family who believe a loved one may have been a victim is asked to review the photos at the above link to recover their property.”

The police also want to speak with anyone who has further information about this case. People can contact the #4 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7445, or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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