Video captures woman’s bag being stolen inside Markham eatery
Published Thursday, March 9, 2017 6:15PM EST Last Updated Thursday, March 9, 2017 7:50PM EST
A woman said she was stunned when she found out her bag was stolen by a man who stood behind her at a crowded restaurant in Markham.
Graduate student Maddy Tong was dining with her friend at the Green Grotto in the area of Warden and Steeles avenues on Wednesday evening. When she got up to leave the restaurant she realized her backpack had been stolen from right under her.
Inside the backpack was Tong’s laptop, which she had to pay to replace, and a large amount of unfinished school work that had not been backed up.
“I was kind of panicking,” she said. “I just didn’t expect it to happen. It just felt like a part of my life had been taken from me, and I was just kind of in shock for a very long time and I didn’t know how to react.”
Security camera footage from the restaurant obtained by CTV News Toronto shows a man standing behind the woman in the restaurant while appearing to talk on his cellphone. After checking around the restaurant with his eyes he is seen to grab the backpack from near her chair and hide it under his jacket before fleeing the scene.
After seeing the footage of the theft, the Green Grotto said that the thief was only inside the restaurant for less than 10 minutes.
York Regional Police said that distraction thefts in busy areas, such as this restaurant, are what thieves thrive on.
The video was initially shared on Facebook by Tong and quickly generated a lot of attention.
While describing the video, Tong said she realizes that she should have been more careful.
“At this point he was already beside me and he was pretending to be on his phone waiting for waitresses to pass and there is my backpack that gets hidden behind his jacket before he walks out,” she said.
“To see someone just take (my bag) from me in the security camera footage is kind of like a wake up – (I thought) ‘why did this happen to me?’”
Tong said the experience has made her more alert.
“It’s just a matter of now I’m super careful with everything, like I’m still kind of worried about my stuff just being beside me,” she said.
While no arrests have been made in this incident, police are hoping that someone is able to recognize this man and contact officers.