The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is asking for the public’s help in tracking down a woman suspected of stealing cash, purses and other items from elderly victims in Edmonton and Strathcona County.
52-year-old Catherine McAlinden is suspected of targeting the elderly in a series of thefts from seniors’ residences dating from the end of March. Police believe that McAlinden used entryway intercom systems to get inside the buildings, where she allegedly knocked at the doors of individual suites pretending to a visitor or home care worker.
Once residents answered her knock, McAlinden reportedly asked them for a favour – to use the phone or have a drink of water – to gain access to their suites and steal their property.
McAlinden has allegedly worked her scheme about 15 times, making off with bank cards, wallets, watches, cash and purses from her victims, whose average age is about 80 years old. Police say that McAlinden has also been known to ask for change for counterfeit $100 bills.
EPS said they are working with staff at the targeted housing complexes to make sure residents don’t inadvertently let unwanted guests into their homes.
“If you live in a condo or apartment-style complex, security is a team effort,” said Det. Daniel van den Berg. “Make sure you know who you are buzzing in, check through the peephole before answering your door, and remember that refusing to admit strangers is not rude, it’s safe.”
Anyone with any information about McAlinden or how to find her is asked to contact the EPS or Crime Stoppers.