Edmonton

Woman charged with 22 break-ins at Edmonton seniors' residences

A woman has been charged with multiple crimes in connection with more than 20 break-ins at seniors' assisted-living residences in Edmonton. 

'The harsh reality is that seniors are being treated as easy targets,' police officer says

Police say more charges are pending against the suspect in a number of break-ins of seniors residences. (CBC)

A woman has been charged with multiple crimes in connection with nearly two dozen break-ins at seniors' assisted-living residences in Edmonton. 

A lone female suspect targeted seniors' residences in 22 break and enters between October 2018 and May 2019, police said Thursday in a news release.

Each time, the suspect entered the building unnoticed and walked from floor to floor looking for unlocked suite doors. Once inside she would steal valuables.

"The vast majority of the incidents occurred while residents were inside their suites," Const. Justin Miller said in the news release. "On one occasion, a male complainant tried to physically prevent the accused from leaving his suite, knowing that she just stole from him. But the accused got away. It's fortunate he was unhurt."

In another incident, the suspect was found inside a complainant's suite and reportedly solicited a sexual act to distract him while she stole his wallet, police said.

In other instances, the suspect offered to help a complainant with her groceries or posed as a housekeeper.

Seniors are 'easy targets,' police say

A 48-year-old woman was arrested on May 15.

She has been charged with eight counts of housebreaking to commit theft, housebreaking with intent, theft of a motor vehicle, theft under $5,000, fraud under $5,000, use of a stolen credit card, and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

"The harsh reality is that seniors are being treated as easy targets," Miller said. "Through my investigation, I learned that the majority of the tenants left their suite doors unlocked, allowing for easy access. We want to remind residents to protect themselves by keeping their rooms secured and doors locked at all times."

Additional charges are pending against the accused from another seven break and enters, police said.

Investigators believe there may be more complainants; anyone with information is asked to call police.