Police say a public appeal to track down an alleged fraudster who used promises of romance to bilk several women out of money has succeeded in identifying a suspect.
The suspect’s name has not been released as police are still investigating and charges have not been laid.
Coquitlam RCMP issued the warning on Valentine’s Day, hoping to find a man who had been preying on unsuspecting women searching for love.
Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said a Coquitlam woman was involved in a week-long romance with a man who answered the her online ad on New Year’s Day.
The man, described as about 45 years old, with dark brown hair, a trim beard and blue eyes, stayed for a time at the victim’s home, but police say the woman never saw his car or went to his residence.
McLaughlin said the suspect left the woman’s home on Jan. 7 and promptly disappeared, along with her house keys, bank cards, and money withdrawn from her account.
Mounties have since linked the man to three similar cases in Metro Vancouver. He’s used aliases including Richard Harvey Silver, Jack Harvey, Dan Whelan and James Whelan.
“Investigators believe there is a strong possibility that other women have been, or will be, the subject of this scam,” McLaughlin says in a Tuesday news release.
By the next day, he had been identified.
“Coquitlam RCMP would like to thank the public and journalists who spread the word so quickly and effectively,” said McLaughlin. “Without your help, this suspect would not have been identified so quickly — and may not have been identified at all.”