A CALLOUS woman who snatched a handbag off a young girl as she tried to return it to the Sutton Coldfield rail passenger it belonged to is being hunted by police.
The Royal Town victim had put her shopping bags down on the main concourse at Birmingham New Street to find her train ticket when one of them split without her realising, and her handbag fell out.
A child who saw the handbag on the floor picked it up and started walking towards the owner to give it back. But an adult accompanying the young girl stopped her from alerting the passenger, took the bag and hid it beneath a buggy she was pushing.
The horrified victim noticed her bag – which together with its contents are valued at £725 – was missing shortly after the incident happened at around 3.15pm on Thursday, August 14.
British Transport Police (BTP) have now issued these CCTV images of a woman they are looking to trace in connection with the incident.
PC Dan Hoskin said: “British Transport Police works hard to ensure everyone can use the rail network without the fear of crime.
“I believe the woman in the images we are issuing today has vital information about the theft.
“If anyone recognises her, please contact BTP.”
The investigation is part of BTP’s Operation Magnum, a nationwide crackdown on the theft of passenger property on the railway. As part of the initiative, the force is reminding passengers of how to keep their property as safe as possible when travelling on the rail network.
Commuters are reminded to:
Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket;
Zip up hand and shoulder bags;
Carry bags in front of you, with flaps against your body;
Keep straps short and bags tucked under your arm;
Don’t display jewellery, mobile phones and MP3 players;
Don’t show your money – keep it safely in your pocket;
Stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you when using your phone in public; and
Keep your luggage close by and check it regularly.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting reference number MSUB/B13 of 01/09/2014. Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Passengers who think their property has been stolen on the rail network is asked to report it to a member of transport staff or a police officer straight away. They can also call or text British Transport Police on the contact number above In an emergency, victims should always dial 999.
More advice for commuters to help spot the most common tricks thieves use can be found at www.btp.police.uk/theft