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Purse-snatch victim warns other seniors

White Rock senior Anna Tkachuk, whose purse was stolen while she was shopping last week, hopes other seniors can learn from her experience. - Tracy Holmes photo
White Rock senior Anna Tkachuk, whose purse was stolen while she was shopping last week, hopes other seniors can learn from her experience.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

When Anna Tkachuk’s purse was stolen from her grocery cart last week, it happened in the blink of an eye.

And while the White Rock senior was fortunate to get the precious accessory back a few hours later – minus the cash she had in her wallet – she wants other seniors to learn from her experience.

“I have never, never feared that somebody’s going to steal it, but I should’ve been more careful,” Tkachuk said. “I’d like the seniors to be very aware of how (they handle) their purse in stores.”

The theft occurred around 11:30 a.m. Aug. 28, as Tkachuk shopped in the South Surrey Price Smart. She had put her purse – containing cash, credit and bank cards, keys and sentimental mementos – in the upper basket of her grocery cart; the same place she has put it for decades, without incident.

But this time, when Tkachuk turned away from the cart briefly to pick out some chocolate for her great-granddaughter, the unthinkable happened.

“When I turned to put (the chocolate) in my buggy, my purse was gone,” she said. “I thought, this can’t be real. I didn’t know what to do.”

The 88-year-old quickly found a store clerk, who alerted the supervisor, who then called police.

After checking the store’s surveillance video, the supervisor advised Tkachuk it showed a woman come up from behind the senior, take the purse and walk out of the store.

When police were delayed, Tkachuk’s daughter took her to the bank to make the account changes that were necessary to prevent further loss.

At home, she discovered a message on her answering machine: her purse had been found in the pharmacy area of Shoppers Drug Mart. Everything was inside except the cash.

“I was so relieved,” Tkachuk said.

A police officer who spoke with Tkachuk recommended that in the future, she use the chain on the grocery cart that typically locks one cart to another to secure her purse.

It’s advice she hopes others will also take to heart.

“My main concern is that people would be able to protect themselves,” Tkachuk said. “From now on, that’s where my purse is going – in through that chain.”

 

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