Vancouver police will not release security footage or other additional evidence related to the assault of an elderly woman by two men posing as police officers, saying the department does not want to jeopardize the investigation.
Several security cameras are in the neighbourhood near Queen Elizabeth Park where the incident took place, including in front of the 78-year-old victim’s home where the suspects attacked her early Sunday after being let inside.
Neighbours of the woman tell Global News their security footage has shown evidence that could be crucial to the investigation and of interest to the public, including the presence of at least one vehicle in front of and behind the home at the time of the attack.
But VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said Tuesday that investigators cannot reveal whether that or any other footage is being reviewed or will ever be released to the public, which has been warned to be on alert about the suspects who are still at large.
“I’m sure the public has a slew of questions that they have for us, and we can appreciate that,” she said.
“Our main concern is to let the public know that this occurred. That was in the public’s interest to let them know this happened.”
According to a police statement issued Monday, the two men knocked on the front door of the 78-year-old woman’s home around 6 a.m. Sunday and were let inside after she was led to believe they were police officers.
The woman, identified by neighbours to Global News as Usha Singh, was left lying injured in her home “for several hours” alone until a friend called police for a wellness check later Sunday morning.
Police have told the public to be “careful and aware” following the incident, reminding people to check for individualized police badges and ID numbers to ensure the person they’re dealing with is a real officer.
Neighbour Laverna Constantin said her security footage shows “some people” getting dropped off or picked up near Singh’s home at the time of the attack, but could not say if the people shown were the suspects.
She and other neighbours suspect the men responsible had prior knowledge about when to strike.
“They knew when to come when people weren’t out and about,” Constantin said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they knew a lot more about us than we’re comfortable with.”
Dominique Robeyns, another neighbour, said she’s heard from others in the community that the suspects were wearing reflective jackets similar to a police jacket, which may have convinced Singh she was dealing with real officers.
Yet Visintin wouldn’t reveal how Singh was led to believe the men were police officers or what they were wearing at the time of the attack.
“All that needs to be said or known is that it came across that these were two police officers at her door, and from there we are continuing to investigate,” she said.
Police will also not say if the attack was targeted, or whether the suspects had any connection to Singh.
Visintin assured that while she understands the public’s need for answers, the case was a top priority for the department.
“There’s a lot of people on this, a lot of members, different sections,” she said. “Rest assured that we are not just sleeping on this. We have the tools and we are doing what we do best.”
Investigators were back at Singh’s home Tuesday gathering additional evidence.
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact Vancouver police or Crime Stoppers.
— With files from Sarah MacDonald