VANCOUVER Police on Friday released videos of recent purse thefts in highly populated businesses in the downtown core to illustrate how easily this crime can happen.
The following incidents have been reported since January, and investigators believe that the same person is responsible for all:
- One victim placed her purse on the back of her chair while eating at a downtown restaurant near Robson and Nicola streets. When she noticed it was missing, the suspect had fled.
- While in the lobby of a hotel near Waterfront Road and Burrard Street, another victim had her purse placed on the table beside her when a man took it without her noticing.
- A victim hung her purse under a scarf on the chair beside her. The suspect dropped his backpack on her purse and then took her purse at the same time he picked up his backpack. He took the victim’s wallet and then put her purse back on the chair.
- While eating at a busy restaurant on Robson Street, the suspect stole a victim’s purse that was on the bench beside her. It contained a passport, ID, and money.
“Sadly, purse thefts are not an uncommon occurrence,” said Constable Tania Visintin. “We want to make the public aware, and ask them to be more mindful when and where they put down their belongings.”
The VPD offers the following tips:
- keep your purse and belongings close to your body so they aren’t easily grabbed
- when in a restaurant or other public area, do not leave your purse draped over the back of your chair
- when shopping, do not leave your purse unattended in the change room or shopping cart
- carry keys and identifying documents in your pocket, so if your purse is stolen thieves won’t have your house keys
- if possible, do not carry large amounts of money with you
These incidents remain under investigation by the VPD’s Property Crime Unit.
Anyone who falls victim to this type of crime is asked to call 9-1-1 for in-progress calls. Reporting after the fact can be done by calling 604-717-3321. Some incidents can also be reported online at vpd.ca.