‘Bait-and-switch’ theft attempted in Hamilton

A dealer in Hamilton is claiming a group of suspected thieves attempted a bait-and-switch scam on him this morning.

Four adults – three men and one woman – are alleged to have attempted the scam at Imperial Coin and Stamp Company, which is owned by Ed Agopian. The woman and one of the men looked to be more than 60 years old while the other two men were “in their late 40s,” Agopian said.

“They were looking at a coin they said they wanted to buy, and one of them asked me to take out another one, but I said we can’t do that. I told them they can only see one piece at a time, and they backed off and left,” said Agopian, who was also visited last spring by suspected thieves, who attempted the same scam at his business as well as several others across Ontario.

“You have to be careful,” he said, adding he believes the group will attempt the scam at other dealers in the area.

Last spring, the ongoing thefts were serious enough to spur the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Border Services Agency to assign a task force to Toronto’s Pearson Airport, where a pair of thieves were eventually arrested and charged with theft.

“If you’re at all suspicious, don’t show them anything. Show one item at a time, and if they’re interested in that item, you have to pay for that item, and once you show the one item, make sure you have it back in your hand before anything else goes on,” Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) President Michael Findlay told CCN last spring.

“When anybody wants to look at anything, it’s one item at a time.”

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