Toronto

A 'brazen' thief gets caught on video stealing woman's purse at Bandit Brewery

An international student got a tough lesson in personal safety after her purse was snatched amid the bustle of a busy brewery over the weekend in what police are calling a brazen theft.

Video of theft, which happened to take place at 'Bandit Brewery,' posted online in hope of identifying suspect

Areum An was catching up with a friend at a restaurant over some beers this long weekend at the Bandit Brewery in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood when someone stole her purse. (CBC)

An international student got a tough lesson in personal safety after her purse was snatched amid the bustle of a busy brewery over the weekend in what police are calling a brazen theft.

Areum An, 30, did what many were doing over the weekend — catching up with a friend at a restaurant over some beers. In this case, the pair happened to be chatting at the Bandit Brewery in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood.

But the brewery's name now has an unfortunate meaning for An after someone made off with her purse, which she'd slung over the back of her chair. She had no idea it was gone until about two hours later, when she got up to pay for her beer.

"I had passport, and visa, and my phone, key and my student id. Everything was there," said An.

The brewery's name now has an unfortunate meaning for An after someone made off with her purse, which she'd slung over the back of her chair. (CBC)

By the time she realized her bag was gone, the alleged thief was long gone too. So she turned to the brewery for help, which she says provided her with security camera footage that captured the entire incident as it unfolded. 

Video posted in the hope of identifying culprit

An took to the internet, posting the video to YouTube in the hope that someone might be able to identify the culprit. The video has since garnered more than 5,000 views. 

Some in the comments section have criticized An for not paying attention to the movement behind her. But it was busy inside the restaurant, said An, and with all the servers and people heading in and out of the patio, she never imagined any of those passing by would be looking for a target.

An international student got a tough lesson in personal safety after her purse was snatched amid the bustle of a busy brewery over the weekend in what police are calling a brazen theft. 1:31

Besides, she said, "I heard ... that Canada is safe and peaceful and many people are kind."

Toronto police are investigating and have since seized video footage of the incident. 

'A wake-up call'

"The video should be a shocking wake up call to people as to how brazen some of these criminals can be, where he's obviously targeted the fact that she's got her purse tucked in behind her," Const. Craig Brister said.

A close-up of the suspect in Saturday's alleged purse-snatching at a Toronto brewery. Areum An posted the security camera footage online in the hope of identifying the suspect. (YouTube)

In the meantime, in online discussion forums where the video was posted, some have drawn links to a similar incident that took place in March, this time in Markham, which was also caught on camera.

"The suspect in that does have some similarities to the one on this video," said Brister, however police are still trying to determine if a single thief was involved in both incidents. 

For her part, An knows there's little chance she'll get her belongings back, but hopes at the very least she can prevent someone else from falling victim to this apparent brewery bandit. 

"I really want to be his last target," said An. "I don't want any people to have the same experience."