Members of the public and police officers in 31 Division came together to right a wrong after a visually impaired woman was robbed of $800 by a stranger she befriended.
On October 17 at around 5 a.m., police were called to a hotel on Norfinch Dr. for a theft investigation. The victim, a 49-year-old visually impaired woman, had been travelling from Sudbury on a bus when she befriended the suspect who told the woman she was homeless and had been through some recent tragedy. The victim had travelled to Toronto for medical appointments as well as to do some Christmas shopping for her grandchildren.
"She also told the victim she had nowhere to stay,” Inspector Colin Greenaway said, at a news conference at 31 Division on October 19. “The victim offered the woman a place to stay in her room for the night.”
When the victim woke up at around 5 a.m., she noticed that the $800 that she had brought to pay for her hotel bill, bus rides and food was gone, allegedly taken by her guest.
“This is a cowardly act,” said Greenaway. “This is a person who took advantage of someone who has a disability and has a great heart in trying to help another person.”
The suspect has been identified as Angela Bluecoat, 36, of Manitoba. A photo was released of the suspect and she turned herself in to 51 Division four hours later.
Constable Amir Butt, who was the first officer to respond to the call, showed the victim compassion, including driving the woman to and from her doctor’s appointment as she had no other means to get around.
“This woman really needed help and this is the least I could to assist her,” he said.
Greenaway praised Butt for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“Just like the great citizens of Toronto, we have good police officers,” he said. “PC Butt went out of his way to assist a person in dire straits who really needed special attention. I am very proud of him for stepping up and doing the right thing for the right reason.”
Many members of the community have also donated $3,500 to an online fundraising campaign to help the woman, a group of bus drivers raised money for her ticket home and Beck Taxi gave the woman transport while in the city. The victim said she was overwhelmed by the generosity.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.