A prolific con artist who is accused of targeting seniors in a string of scams across Canada - and who has been of special interest to West Vancouver police in the past - appears to have resurfaced in New Westminster.
Richard Earl Rupert, 56, was named a person of interest in an April 2008 incident in which a man approached a 90-year-old West Vancouver man on Marine Drive, told him he was a family member in need of money, and convinced the older man to withdraw and hand over a large sum of cash. The stranger then vanished.
Rupert has allegedly defrauded seniors in communities across the country using a similar ruse. More than 10 warrants have been issued for his arrest on theft, robbery, break-and-enter, fraud and other charges, and in 2010, he was featured on America's Most Wanted.
On Wednesday, New Westminster police announced they were looking for a man they said had stolen $240 from an elderly woman Nov. 21 after telling her he was her son and convincing her to take him to her home. They believed the same man had pulled off a similar scam in the community Jan. 2, pretending to be a needy relative in order to persuade an elderly woman to given him $1,600 from her bank account.
New Westminster investigators put out an image of the suspect taken from a bank security camera. The photo bears a striking resemblance to Rupert. West Vancouver police alerted the force to that fact later in the day. Rupert is Caucasian, roughly five feet six inches tall, with short, dirty-blond or grey hair and a receding hairline. He has a reddish complexion, hazel eyes, prominent cheekbones and is usually clean shaven. Polite and well spoken, Rupert often visits bingo halls, bed and breakfasts, motels and hostels. He is known to use a variety of aliases, usually with the first name Richard.
Between January 2008 and November 2009, he reportedly approached 20 victims ranging in age from 78 to 95, in each case presenting himself as a relative - often a nephew - in need of money for travel, car repairs or rent. Anyone with information is asked to contact the WVPD at 604-925-7300.