A series of thefts involving purses in downtown Vancouver in recent months has led police to issue a warning and to release surveillance video.
Since January, four women have had their valuables stolen, seemingly in very public places, and Vancouver police say they believe the same person is responsible for all the thefts.
One woman placed her purse on the back of a chair while eating at a downtown Vancouver restaurant near Robson and Nicola Streets, the suspect took it and fled.
#VPDNews: #VPD is releasing video of recent purse thefts in the downtown core to illustrate how easily this crime can happen, and to remind people to be mindful of where they put their belongings. These thefts remain under investigation. https://t.co/1cekcKe8Io pic.twitter.com/ZBmjGYGOXw
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) March 10, 2023
In another instance, VPD says the “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.”
And another woman lost her passport, ID, and money when her purse was stolen at a busy restaurant in the heart of a shopping district.
The suspect has been described as male and in many of the surveillance videos he is wearing a baseball cap.
“Sadly, purse thefts are not an uncommon occurrence,” VPD Const. Tania Visintin says. “We want to make the public aware, and ask them to be more mindful when and where they put down their belongings.”
VPD also adds that carrying keys and important documents in your pocket is a good idea in case someone steals your purse — they won’t have the keys to your house.
“Anyone who falls victim to this type of crime is asked to call 911 for in-progress calls. Reporting after the fact can be done by calling 604-717-3321,” VPD says.