Vernon RCMP are encouraging women to be careful with their purses following a pair of purse snatching incidents less than 24 hours apart.
Police were called Friday at 1:40 p.m. to the front of the Vernon Recreation Complex where a 58-year-old woman had her purse snatched from her shoulder while she was talking to a friend.
“A young man came up behind the woman, grabbed her purse, tore the strap and took off,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.
The woman received scratches from where the purse strap was torn off. Her purse, containing personal contents, was not recovered.
The suspect in the robbery is described as a Caucasian man, about six-foot tall, skinny and was wearing a dark top with grey pants.
On Saturday, shortly before 10 a.m., police received a call about a man in his late teens or early 20s going through a woman’s purse in the alley area near 30th Avenue and 37th Street.
“An individual saw this man going through the purse, asked him what he was doing, and the man said it was his mother’s purse. He realized he had been caught and he took off,” said Molendyk.
Police learned the purse had been stolen from an 88-year-old woman who was walking from her home towards downtown when a man came up from behind and grabbed the purse.
The woman was uninjured.
The suspect was described as Caucasian, late teens or early 20s, wearing dark shorts, a dark shirt and a ball cap.
“There’s no further description because she never saw his face, just saw him running away,” said Molendyk.
The purse was later recovered, but the woman’s keys and personal papers were missing.
Molendyk said police are asking women with purses, particularly those 45 and older, to use caution.
“A lot of women love to carry their purse, if it’s a bigger purse they carry it over their shoulder or in the crook of their arm,” said Molendyk. “If it has a strap, put a jacket over it. And carry money and valuables in a fanny pack.
“I know, trying to tell women not to carry a purse is almost like saying bad things to them because a purse is their own personal space. We just ask that they be very careful.”
Molendyk said it was hard to determine if both incidents involved the same suspect because there isn’t a very good description available.
“It’s possible both involved one individual or possibly a couple of individuals were working together,” he said.
Anybody with any information on the robberies is asked to call the Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip on the Crime Stoppers’ website at www.nokscrimestoppers.com.