Vancouver Police are issuing a public warning after four purse snatching street robberies in northeast Vancouver, all involving elderly women.

The first robbery occurred on April 30th just after 10 a.m. in the 3000 block E. 2nd Avenue. A 74 year old woman was approached from behind by an unknown man and was pushed to the ground as he tried to steal her purse. The suspect fled with cash and personal items from the purse.

An area search failed to turn up any sign of the suspect, who was described as unknown race, adult man, 5’2″ tall and wearing a black jacket and black toque. He was seen getting into a grey car that sped away.  The victim did not suffer any injuries.

The second robbery occurred shortly before noon on June 14th in the 2900 block Venables Ave. An 88 year old woman was knocked to the ground by an unknown man after being approached from behind. The suspect fled with the victim’s purse and was not located. He was described as dark-skinned, possibly Aboriginal or Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, 5’6″ tall, with a medium build, and short brown hair cut above his ears. He was wearing a dark long-sleeved shirt.

The victim received minor injuries to her right eye, the right side of her mouth, and bruising to both hands and her left knee.

The third robbery occurred on June 30th just before noon in the 800 block Kamloops Street. An 83 year old woman was walking on the sidewalk when she was approached from behind by an unknown man who grabbed her purse which forced her to fall to the ground. The victim tried to resist the robbery but the suspect dragged her along the ground for a short distance before getting the purse and running away.

The suspect was described as Aboriginal, in his 30s with dark eyes, dark hair, and no teeth. He was wearing a grey track suit with a hoodie. The victim suffered a dislocated left shoulder along with minor scrapes to her arms and legs.

The fourth robbery occurred on July 3rd at about 9:30 a.m. in the 100 block North Templeton Drive. A 74 year old woman was walking along the sidewalk when she was approached by an unknown man who asked her for money. The victim refused and the man suddenly grabbed the victim by the head, slamming it into a nearby dumpster. The victim fell to the ground and the suspect grabbed some cash and ran away.

The suspect was described as white, 20 to 30 years old, 6′ tall, with a medium build, a fair complexion, and clean shaven. He was described as wearing a dark hooded jacket and pants.

The victim was taken to hospital where she was treated for possible neck strain and bumps and scrapes to her head.

There have been no suspects identified and it is unclear at this time whether any of the robberies are connected.

The victims in these violent attacks are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Police are appealing for anyone with information to call the Vancouver Police General Investigation Unit at (604) 717-3200 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.

VPD is reminding residents to be alert and report any suspicious persons or circumstances to police.

Safety Tips for Seniors:

  • walk with a friend or family member if possible
  • know where you’re going and walk with a sense of purpose with your head up high
  • keep your purse and belongings close to your body so they aren’t easily grabbed
  • carry keys and identifying documents in your pocket, so if your purse is stolen theives won’t have your house keys
  • do not carry large amounts of money with you, if possible