Ottawa police are warning elderly people in the Carlingwood area to be vigilant after a third daylight purse snatching this month.

An 85-year-old woman had turned onto Haymarket Street from Iroquois Road at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, when police said a man walked behind her and grabbed her purse.

He fled through a parking garage at the Carlingwood Mall. The woman, who uses a walker to assist her, suffered some bruising on her arm but was otherwise not injured, according to Staff Sgt. Michael Harbosch with Ottawa Police robbery unit.

Staff Sgt. Michael Harbosch

Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Michael Harbosch said the robber appears to be targeting elderly women. (CBC)

The incident is similar to two other incidents that happened in the same area and Harbosch said police believe they are linked.

  • On May 7, a 104-year-old woman was walking along a path in the Cleary Avenue-Richmond Road area when she was brushed by a man riding a bicycle and realized shortly after he had stolen her purse.

  • On May 8, an 87-year-old woman was walking in the Prince Charles Road/Saville Row area when a man threw her to the ground, stole her purse and fled on foot, turning onto Black Friars Road. She was taken to hospital with a broken arm.

"He's targeting one of the most vulnerable sectors in our community, the elderly," he said. "They are basically defenceless... [and with the suspect] coming from behind, they don't stand a chance."

Harbosch said elderly people walking in the neighbourhood should consider taking some extra precautions, such as making a point of being more aware of their surroundings and, if possible, travelling with a second person.

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect.

The suspect in Tuesday's incident is described as a Caucasian male, about five feet, ten inches tall, with a thin build and short dark hair. He was wearing a black shirt and black pants.

Police are asking anyone with information to either of these incidents to contact the robbery unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5116 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS) or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.