Toronto police have identified a suspect in connection with a string of robberies targeting seniors living all over Ontario.

The suspect was identified by witnesses who responded to an earlier police report regarding an 81-year-old woman who was robbed by a man who had befriended her.

The senior told police that the man accompanied her to a bank where she withdrew money but before she knew it, the man was tugging at her purse, trying to snatch it away.

The woman resisted but she was eventually knocked over onto a bench. The man grabbed money that was inside her purse and ran out of the building.

Police later released video footage of the suspect which triggered dozens of tips by the public.

Authorities say they now believe the suspect defrauded at least 20 other victims, all of whom are between 78 and 95 years old.

Victims have told police that they've been approached by a man who introduces himself as a distant relative. He is polite and well-spoken, they said. After a short while, the man convinces them to give him money to help him pay his rent, car repairs or travel expenses.

Police say the man often visits retirement homes and bingo halls. He is known to stay at hostels, bed and breakfasts or motels. He always pays in cash.

Toronto police are investigating the case in partnership with police in Ottawa, Waterloo and the Niagara region.

A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Richard Earl Rupert.

The 54-year-old is wanted for:

  • Robbery
  • Break and enter
  • Eight counts of fraud under
  • Three counts of attempted fraud under
  • Six counts of theft under

Rupert is described as a white man who is about 5'5' tall, between 140 and 160 lbs. with short, dirty-blonde hair with some grey in it. He has a receding hairline. He has hazel eyes, chiseled cheekbones, a reddish complexion and is generally clean shaven.

Anyone with information is being asked to call police at 416-808-3200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS.