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Winnipeg woman with dementia abducted found safe: police

A Winnipeg woman with dementia who was abducted early Saturday morning was found safe and sound inside a vehicle that had been stolen nearly 10 hours earlier.

Around 12:20 p.m. Saturday, Winnipeg police confirmed the 63-year-old woman had been found. CTV News has removed his name and photo to protect his privacy.

Winnipeg police had issued an emergency alert after the woman, who has dementia, was abducted in what police described as a “completely random incident”.

Police say the woman was reported to be in the back of a blue 2012 Jeep Patriot that was parked at a gas station in the 3600 block of Portage Avenue. While the Jeep was parked, police said a man approached and stole it shortly before 2 a.m.

CCTV shows a man approaching the Jeep, climbing into the passenger side and sliding into the driver’s seat. Police say a family member who was driving the vehicle with the woman is then seen approaching and attempting to stop the theft, but the Jeep drives away.

Winnipeg police issued an emergency alert shortly after 11 a.m., asking people to be on the lookout and call 911 if they see anything.

Police said shortly after issuing the alert, someone called 911 to say they believed they saw the Jeep in the Charleswood area. Although it was not the stolen Jeep, police said officers remained in the area and continued to search.

Shortly before noon, officers came across the stolen Jeep abandoned in the Glendale neighborhood.

“(The woman) was found alone and physically unharmed inside the vehicle,” police said in a statement.

Earlier today, Winnipeg police also issued a silver alert, which is issued when a vulnerable adult is reported missing. const. Jay Murray of the Winnipeg Police Service said the fact that the woman has dementia added to the seriousness of the situation.

He said that while car thefts are fairly common in Winnipeg, it’s unusual for someone to be inside the vehicle when it’s stolen.

“This is an unusual incident. We have nothing to indicate that these parties know each other,” Murray said. “At this point, it appears to be a completely random incident and a crime of opportunity.”

Police said no arrests have been made at this time and the suspect has not yet been identified. However, the Major Crimes Unit is investigating. Murray said it’s unclear whether the suspect knew the woman was in the Jeep before or during the robbery.

Police said the suspect was described as about six feet tall, with black hair. He was seen wearing a gray jacket, dark colored shorts, a hoodie with white writing, sandals and white gloves.

Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.

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