Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Binscarth woman accused of string of purse thefts

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A 50-year-old home-care worker is accused of stealing purses from elderly residents in Russell, Foxwarren, the RM Silver Creek and St. Lazare.

RCMP allege the Binscarth woman is responsible for several break-and-enters and thefts between Sept. 20-23.

Debbie Ann Smith was arrested on Wednesday and is being held in custody. She will appear in Brandon provincial court today.

Anyone with information on this care, or who might have been victimized, is encouraged to call Russell RCMP at 204-773-3051.

Anonymous tips can be made to Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or www.manitobacrimestoppers.com, or text "TIPMAN" plus your message to Crimes (274637).

Just days ago, RCMP warned citizens in western Manitoba about thefts where elderly residents were targetted.

Police said the thefts had "disturbing similarities." In most cases, a young woman showed up at the doorstep asking to use the washroom. When the elderly resident allowed the woman inside, a purse was stolen. In two incidents, two elderly women were pushed down during the thefts and suffered minor injuries.

The victims are between the ages of 78 and 90 years old; many live in their own homes.

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