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Police are renewing their advice to women in Southampton following further reports of bag snatching in the city bringing the total to eight in one week.
Women are being reminded to remain vigilant and if possible, keep their handbag is kept out of view when walking around the streets of Southampton.
Bag snatches have been reported at:
Kingsland Square on July 24 at 3.45pm when an 84 year old woman had her bag snatched off her shoulder by a passing cyclist
Alfred Street on July 25 between 8.45 and 9.15am when a 54 year old woman had her bag snatched from her hand by a passing cyclist
Radcliffe Road on July 27 between 3.40 and 4.50pm when a 62 year old woman was approached from behind and the offender grabbed hold of her bag and pulled hard until she let go
Oxford Avenue on July 27 at 8pm when a 49 year old woman was targeted by a man on a red bike who snatched her bag and rode off.
Blackberry Terrace on July 27 at 9.10pm when a 63 year old woman was approached from behind and pushed to the ground before the offender snatched her bag and cycled off
Jannoway Gardens on July 28 between 10.40 and 10.50am when a 72 year old woman was targeted. A cyclist rode past her and went out of view and as the woman passed a building further along the road, the offender ran out, grabbed her bag while dragging her along the path. She eventually let go and the offender was seen to ride off on a bike. Soon afterwards the woman’s bank card was used to withdraw cash from a cash point.
Northam Road on July 30 at 10.40am when a 42 year old woman was approached from behind by a cyclist on a silver bike who attempted to snatch her bag from her shoulder but was unsuccessful.
North Road on July 30 at 11.25am when an 82 year woman was targeted by a cyclist who snatched her bag from her hand as he rode by.
Police say it's lucky that none of the women have so far been badly hurt, but due to the age and vulnerability of those being targeted, officers are concerned that if the predator continues to strike, someone will get hurt.
The offender appears to identify his victim beforehand before striking, often from behind. In all incidents the offender is described as:
Aged approximately 18-25 years old
Riding a push bike
He was wearing casual clothing
As a result of these incidents the police are asking the public to report anything or anyone who they believe is acting suspiciously, especially someone riding around on a push bike. Police would also like to hear from anyone finding any
discarded handbags or purses, glasses, keys, address books etc. or other personal effects of no particular value to the thief.
Police are conducting high-visibility and covert public reassurance patrols in and around the target area on foot, cycles and in cars to help raise awareness, prevent further offences and more importantly, identify and apprehend the offender.
Southampton West District Chief Inspector Stuart Murray said:
“The Southampton public should be reassured that we are doing everything we can to stop these callous attacks on defenceless women who are simply going about their daily business. We remain committed to identifying and arresting the perpetrator committing these bag snatches and have a dedicated team of officers in uniform and plain clothes patrolling the target area in a bid to stop the person who is preying on these vulnerable women.
We would also like to advise all women to make sure their handbag is kept close to them at all times and if possible, worn or carried out of view under their outer clothing. We would further advise that women should be aware of their surroundings at all times to minimise the risk of being targeted and if they see anyone acting suspiciously, to keep the person in view, get a description of their appearance and clothing and inform the police at the earliest opportunity, preferably at the time.”
If anyone has information that will assist the police with their investigation, they are asked to phone Shirley CID on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity line anonymously on 0800 555 111.