Witnesses & Victims Sought After Purse Thief Arrested

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
File #: 
16-20129, 16-215533, 16-21535, 16-21536

Victoria, BC – VicPD investigators are seeking both witnesses and victims after the arrest of an alleged prolific purse-snatcher in Victoria’s downtown. Our investigation has led officers to believe that there may be several victims in the community who have not yet reported their losses to police. Additionally, officers also believe that there are witnesses to several of these incidents who have not yet come forward.

Officers were first called to a restaurant in the 600-block of Trounce Alley on May 13th,  after staff and patrons observed a man take a woman’s purse from the back of her chair and attempt to leave the restaurant. The woman’s husband and staff followed the man as he exited the restaurant and confronted him. According to the complainants, when confronted, the man handed the stolen purse back. During this encounter witnesses took cellphone photographs of the suspect which were passed to investigators.

Officers recognized the suspect from the photographs and began looking for him. This search led to the suspect’s arrest last night.

During the course of the investigation, officers tied the same suspect to at least four similar incidents at eating establishments downtown.

The suspect is described as a Caucasian man standing six feet, five inches tall with dark brown hair and a short, dark brown and grey beard. He walks with a prominent limp, in a “stooped-over” posture. He was wearing a grey suit during at least one of the incidents.

Given that the investigation remains underway and the suspect has not yet been charged in these incidents, we are unable to release his name or photograph at this time.

If you have been a victim of a purse theft in the downtown Victoria area in recent weeks, have witnessed a man matching the description acting suspiciously, or have any information about these or similar incidents, you are asked to call the VicPD non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654. To report what you know anonymously, please call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.