Urgent warning after thieves snatch five handbags in Harborough car parks in 10 days
Police have issued an urgent warning to women after thieves have snatched five handbags in car parks in Market Harborough in just 10 days.
Officers put out the alert as they step up patrols following the mini-crime spree.
Uniformed officers are increasing their presence as they enforce a crackdown as undercover officers are also out and about hunting the thieves.
PC Malc Roberts said the suspects had targeted the Sainsbury’s car park as well as the one shared by Aldi and Waitrose and nearby Lidl car park.
He told the Harborough Mail: “We’ve had a real spate of handbag snatches in these busy supermarket car parks over the last couple of weeks.
“We are urging women shoppers to be extra vigilant – be on your guard all the time.”
PC Roberts, based at Harborough police station, said distraught victims have been targeted and plundered after they returned to their cars.
“The offenders have been stealing handbags after the victim has put them on the ground or on their front seat as they load shopping into their boot,” he said.
“No one has actually been held up or robbed as such.
“The criminal picks out a target and it can be all over in two seconds.
“One brave woman actually chased the thief but he got away.
“I’d advise women to wrap their handbag over their shoulder making it much harder rather than putting it down and leaving it unguarded.”
PC Roberts said they were hunting a white man who wears thick-rimmed glasses.
And he said the modus operandi or tactics deployed had been almost identical every time.
“It could be the same thief in every case or we might be looking for more than one man.
“They have struck in darkness between about 6pm and 9pm-9.30pm,” said PC Roberts.
“The offenders haven’t targeted any women in particular, such as specific age groups, just women full stop.
“We are increasing both overt and covert patrols in these car parks.
“We have also alerted the shops and supermarkets so that their staff can also keep an eye out while going out to round up trolleys or what ever.
“So please have your wits about you and if you do see anyone acting suspiciously then walk straight back into the shop.”
Anyone who spots anything suspicious or who has any information about these crimes should call police on 101.