WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
West Vancouver police are seeking the public’s help finding a suspect who knocked an elderly woman to the ground and dragged her while stealing her purse on New Year’s Day.
Police say the 86-year-old victim was leaving Loblaws City Market at Park Royal Mall around 5:15 p.m., carrying a bag of groceries and using a cane as she walked along Marine Drive towards 11 Street.
After she turned onto 11 Street, the woman told police she felt a yank on her purse strap, which was slung across her chest.
“She had no indication of who this person was, didn’t know if they were male or female,” the woman’s son, John Christie, told Global News.
The suspect then pushed the woman to the ground and dragged her while trying to take the purse, eventually making off with the bag and leaving the woman lying on the sidewalk.
The woman suffered a fractured left shoulder, along with deep cuts to her right hand and wrist from the dragging.
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“She was on the ground for a while, yelling, ‘help, help,'” Christie said. “Of course her cellphone was in her purse, so she had no way of reaching out to people. Cars were turning here, but she didn’t have any success with that.
“Finally someone heard her and called 911.”
The woman is now in hospital receiving treatment, though her family says she does not require any surgery beyond multiple stitches to the cuts in her hand.
In addition to her cellphone, the purse also contained the woman’s wallet with her debit and credit cards inside.
Police have been unable to locate the suspect, who ran off in an unknown direction. A search of the area turned out to be fruitless.
“To assault a senior like this is despicable,” West Vancouver police spokesperson Const. Kevin Goodmurphy said in a statement.
“Rest assured that we are working diligently to identify a suspect.”
Christie hopes that suspect is caught soon and brought to justice.
“You really have to question the humanity of somebody who would push an 86-year-old woman to the ground to get the meagre contents of her purse,” he said.
“It’s just such a sad thing.”
Anyone with information helpful to investigators is asked to contact West Vancouver police or Crime Stoppers.