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Elderly bag theft victim's spirits raised by kind-hearted public - Sunderland

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Theft from passenger's handbag

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We are continuing to appeal for information in connection with the theft of an elderly woman’s handbag on a Metro train in Sunderland.

Since our appeal for witnesses in December, in which the investigating officer asked those responsible to come forward before Christmas, we have had a great response from the public offering to help and donate money to the 71-year-old victim.

Investigating officer, PC Ian Hancox, said: “Following the media coverage of this theft, a number of kind-hearted people have made donations to the victim via a Just Giving page set up by a member of the public. The victim was very touched by people’s generosity and has decided to donate the money to Cancer Research UK.

“Our enquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible for the theft and I would like to reiterate my appeal for information. If you know anything about this incident, please contact me on the number below.”

The victim, a woman from Sunderland who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “My late husband died as a result of asbestos-related illness, so this charity is very close to my heart. When British Transport Police put out an appeal which was covered by the local press about my stolen money, I soon learned that many readers had made donations to make up the money I had lost. This generosity was very warming and really raised my spirits before Christmas. I wish to thank everyone who donated. I have chosen to donate the money to Cancer Research UK, who work to better understand asbestos risks and find cures and better treatments for patients.”

The theft took place at around 1.10pm on Monday 14 November, as the victim was travelling on the Metro with a friend from Pallion to Park Lane in Sunderland.

She placed her handbag on the seat next to her. When she got to her destination she picked up her shopping bags and accidentally left her handbag on the seat. She alerted Metro staff and they intercepted the train about ten minutes later at Heworth. Staff walked through the train asking if anyone had seen a handbag, and two men handed them a handbag. However, the bag was missing approximately £375.

CCTV images show two young men walking through the train the woman had been on before sitting down next to the bag.

They appear to be looking through it.

The first man is white, with brown hair, medium build aged around 16–22 years old. He was wearing a black t-shirt with a print on the front and a red and black short sleeved checked shirt over the top, with black trousers.

The second man is white, with brown wavy hair, stocky build, around 16-22 years old and was wearing dark clothing including black jacket, jeans and trainers. He was carrying a rucksack. 

PC Hancox said “We are continuing our enquiries to find the two men we have on CCTV who we would like to speak to in connection with this theft and we are making progress.

“I once again ask anyone who knows anything about this theft to come forward and speak to me. If you are responsible, please come forward so that the victim can move on from this incident.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016, quoting reference number 170 of 20/12/16.

Notes for editors:

If you would like to speak to the Just Giving page co-ordinator, please contact the BTP Press Office for details. 

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