Police charge three individuals in purse and wallet thefts

Police have been investigating a rash of purse and wallet thefts that have occurred at various grocery stores in Burlington and Oakville.

Police have received 16 reports of such thefts since the beginning of November 2017 where persons targeted were senior citizens whose purses and/or wallets were stolen from their shopping carts while the owner was not looking.

On November 3, 2017, the two suspects attended the Whole Foods grocery store, located at 301 Cornwall Road, Oakville. While the victim left her buggy unattended for a brief period, the unknown female suspect stole the victim’s wallet. The unknown male suspect appeared to be acting as a look-out while the female committed the theft.


 Whole Foods Market at Cornwall and Trafalgar. Image: Google Maps

On November, 26, 2017, the same two suspects attended the Metro grocery store, located at 1521 Rebecca Street, Oakville. During this incident, the suspects stole the victim’s purse while she left her shopping cart unattended. The suspects quickly fled the store after committing the theft.

Investigators have been working with area Loss Prevention Officers to identify the persons responsible which resulted in them being positively identified.

On December 16th 2017, two persons were arrested in Mississauga and another arrested the following day when police executed a search warrant at an apartment on Hurontario Street in Mississauga. The following persons have been arrested and held for bail:


Barbara GRABOWKSA (45 yrs) of Mississauga

  1. Theft under $5000 (Nine Counts)

Mariusz ZELINSKI (44 yrs) of Mississauga

  1. Theft under $5000 (five counts)
  2. Obstruct peace officer

Mariusz ZELINSKI (37 yrs) of Mississauga

  1. Theft under $5000 (three counts)

“The targeting of senior citizens is despicable and any such occurrences will be fully investigated and offenders will be brought to justice”, stated Detective Sergeant Ron Hansen. “The relationship we have with our area loss prevention officers (LPO’S) has proven to be invaluable and this is just one example. We are committed to continuing to work with LPO’s to identify and apprehend offenders which thieves should take note of before deciding to steal in Halton Region”

Prevention Tips:

  1. During this busy Holiday Season, Halton Regional Police are reminding residents to keep a close eye on their purses and wallets.
  2. Residents should be aware of their surroundings and be alert for distraction type thefts when shopping in the grocery stores, malls and other retail business.
  3. Residents are reminded to only carry the necessary identification such as Driver’s Licence or Health Card, and should try to minimize this potential loss by leaving their SIN card, birth certificate and passports securely at home.
  4. If you become a victim of a purse or wallet theft please contact your financial services providers, cancel you cards and then call the Halton Regional Police to file a report.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Vulnerable Persons and Seniors Liaison Team at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).


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