An elderly woman was attacked inside her Vancouver home Sunday morning by two men posing as police officers, investigators say, prompting a warning to the public to be “careful and aware.”
The attack happened just after 6 a.m. near Queen Elizabeth Park in the city’s west side, police said.
According to a statement issued Monday, the two men knocked on the front door of the 78-year-old woman’s home and were let inside.
The woman, who investigators said lives alone, was likely left lying injured in her home “for several hours” until her friend called police for a wellness check later that morning.
She was then rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.
“This was a horrific and deeply disturbing crime that has left a vulnerable senior clinging to life,” spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said.
“We don’t know yet who did this or why, and until we have more information, everyone should be on guard.”
Neighbours speaking to Global News identified the victim as Usha Singh, a caregiver who they say was deceived into opening the door for visitors — something she rarely ever does.
“We’re very upset this happened to our neighbour,” Laverna Constantine said. “We’re furious this happened to our neighbour.”
“Obviously these people were able to blend in. And they were pretty comfortable doing what they did. So they were obviously casing the neighbourhood quite carefully.”
The first suspect was described as a six-foot-tall white man between 30 and 40 years old, with a long brown beard and a medium build. Police said the second man was believed to be either Indigenous or Hispanic, between 30 and 50 years old, also six feet tall with a heavy build and dark, “balding” hair.
Police advised the public to look for officers’ individualized police badges, ID cards and personal ID numbers, and to call the department’s non-emergency line if they doubt whether the person they’re dealing with is a real police officer.
Neighbours said the incident has left them on guard in their own community and thinking twice about opening the door for police.
“Prior to this, I 100 per cent would have opened the door,” Carmen Hou said. “And I have a five-year-old daughter at home.”
Anyone with information helpful to the investigation into Sunday’s attack is asked to contact Vancouver police or Crime Stoppers.
–With files from Sarah MacDonald