Vancouver police are on zeroing in on a suspect they believe is behind a string of purse thefts.
Four thefts have been reported since January – all recorded on security footage as they happened in highly populated business in the downtown core, police said Friday (March 10).
In one instance, the 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, police said.
Another victim had her purse snatched after putting it on a table beside her while in a hotel lobby near Waterfront Road and Burrard Street.
The third woman hung her purse under a scarf on the chair beside her before the suspect dropped his backpack on top of her bag and grabbed both bags. He took the victim’s wallet and then put her purse back, security footage shows.
The last victim to make a police report was eating at a busy restaurant on Robson Street when the suspect stole her purse on the bench beside her. It contained a passport, identification and money.
“Sadly, purse thefts are not an uncommon occurrence,” says Const. Tania Visintin.
“We want to make the public aware, and ask them to be more mindful when and where they put down their belongings.”
As investigators look for the suspect, police are also releasing a number of tips to prevent such thefts:
• 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