An 88-year-old Winnipeg woman says she wants to move out of her North End home after she was attacked and robbed by two younger women — in broad daylight — in her neighbourhood this week.
Eva Zajac says the women took her purse, which contained the money she had for the month, after she left Empire Drugs on Selkirk Avenue and Arlington Street on Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm just scared that they [were] going to injure me — kick me or beat me or something," Zajac told CBC News on Wednesday. "When they leave, I was just shaking."
Police say the woman was walking out of the store at around 1:30 p.m. CT. Zajac said she was paying her gas bill at the time, using the money she had just taken from the bank after she cashed in her pension cheque.
Two women who were also in the store saw Zajac and followed her into a nearby alley. They grabbed her from behind, pulled at her purse and caused the elderly woman to fall, according to police.
The attackers then fled with the woman's purse, containing an undisclosed amount of cash.
Officers flooded the area and arrested two women, aged 24 and 31, and charged them with robbery with violence.
Police set up trust account
Zajac said she lost all the money she had for the month. She said she wondered what to tell her husband, Stanislaw.
"He wanted to protect me," she said. "He started to tell me, 'Don't cry, don't cry. Money is not everything. It's good that you're not injured.'"
While Zajac was not seriously injured, the robbery has angered police, who say the loss of money was a significant impact to her.
"Our frustration level is as high as anyone would be when they hear about stories and circumstances like this," Const. Jason Michalyshen told reporters on Wednesday.
"It's disgusting when you hear about anyone being victimized in this manner, let alone 80-year-old victims."
Police have taken the unusual move of setting up a trust account at the Winnipeg Police Credit Union (Account No. 1035393) for the woman.
As for Zajac, she said she wants to move out of her home of about 35 years and live in a safer place.
"I am older and older. I think I must give away everything and go to [an] apartment where it's more safe," she said.
Woman recovering from apartment robbery
Tuesday's incident marks the second time in the past two weeks that an elderly woman has been robbed and assaulted in Winnipeg.
Lena Stetwick, 88, was attacked by a man who broke into her Henderson Highway apartment on Jan. 21.
The man allegedly forced his way into the woman's suite and demanded money. He struck her, knocking her down, and searched the home for property.
Neighbours have said the man stomped on the woman as he fled. Stetwick was sent to hospital with serious upper-body injuries.
Health officials told CBC News on Wednesday that Stetwick is recovering well from major facial surgery that she underwent this past weekend.
Stetwick's family members want to thank the public for their well wishes for their mother's recovery, according to a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
A 22-year-old man was arrested last week and charged with aggravated assault, break and enter to commit an indictable offence, robbery with violence, and other offences.