Senior pushes back against intruder in her Nanaimo home

Seventy-nine year old woman stands her ground in incident on Winchester Avenue

A 79-year-old Nanaimo woman had her purse and cellphone taken, but she fought back against a home invader and refuses to leave her home she has lived in for more than 50 years.

According to police, the incident unfolded at about 8 p.m. Monday when the woman, who lives on Winchester Avenue, came face-to-face with a masked intruder in her house.

“She stepped out momentarily to close her gate outside her house and when she came back in there he was,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “He had a balaclava on, covering his face. He shoved her into a nearby bedroom. She fell on the bed. She got up and she pushed back and he shoved her again and she got up and shoved him again.”

During the struggle the intruder repeatedly screamed that he wanted her purse and cell phone. The woman refused to hand over anything and when she saw her opening she ran out the door and to her neighbours who called 911.

Police, including police dog services, were on scene within about four minutes, but were unable to track down the intruder.

“You can cover a long distance in about four minutes, especially if you’re on a bike or on adrenaline or have a car nearby,” O’Brien said.

The woman suffered bumps and bruises in the struggle and was offered alternative accommodations with friends and family, but she refuses to leave her home.

This was the second theft from her home in three days. The woman had also reported at theft from her home on Saturday morning at about 8 a.m. after she discovered her wedding rings – her husband is deceased – were missing from her jewelry box along with some cash and her debit card.

“Then we have this second incident, so it’s appearing that … if we can connect the dots – we haven’t at this point – but if they are connected it’s quite troubling because that means she would have been targeted, but we don’t know,” O’Brien said.

Police are working with forensic evidence and other investigative methods to track down the suspect, described as Caucasian, 5-foot-5 with a slim build. He was wearing dark clothing.

O’Brien said this kind of crime is rare in Nanaimo, which has targeted home invasions that are often carried out by criminals targeting people who are also involved in criminal activity.

“But in this case this is just a sweet lady who has lived there for 50-plus years,” he said.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or submit a tip online at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach takes step closer to banning plastic bags

Respondents of online and open house feedbacks favour plastic bag ban

Public warned not to eat herring eggs harvested from French Creek to Qualicum Bay

Island Health reports vibrio cholerae bacteria linked to eating herring eggs

Qualicum Beach to use RDN services for trash collection

Council says outsourcing waste pickup will be more efficient

Parksville’s Corfield Street to be partially closed March 28

Northbound lane to close for sewer main installation from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pair arrested after ramming stolen vehicle into police car in Qualicum Beach

Suspects remain in custody on multiple charges pending court appearance

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 23, 2018

SurvivorPQB supports local charity

Readers vote for the favourites and are eligible to win $250 in groceries

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

Most Read