Purse snatched in Nanaimo's Bowen Park

A purse snatcher threatened to burn a woman's face if she didn't hand over her purse on the weekend.

The victim, 70, was walking out of Bowen Park near the Bowen Road-Buttertubs Drive intersection with a friend shortly after 1:30 p.m. Saturday when a man, carrying a red cylinder, ran up from behind them, threatened to burn the woman's face, grabbed her purse off her shoulder and fled.

The suspect was last seen running into an apartment building parking lot at 999 Bowen Rd.

Police searched the area and called police dog services, but the dog was unable to track the suspect or the woman's stolen purse, which contained a small amount of cash and credit cards.

"The red cylinder was possibly a fire extinguisher," said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

O'Brien said the woman has cancelled her credit cards, but also lost her cellphone, keys, phone book and other personal items.

The suspect is Caucasian in his early 20s with a muscular build and short, brown hair. He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts with one red leg and one green leg.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at

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