Thieves snatch bag from Harpenden pensioner’s car

CALLOUS thieves stole an elderly lady’s bag from her car in Harpenden as she emptied her car of shopping.

The 78-year-old was delivering the shopping to a frail relative with Alzheimer’s, who she cares for, when the thieves struck on May 17 as she stood just 15 yards from the car.

The thieves drove up and stopped beside her car as the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, took some tomato plants into her relative’s porch. She turned to see one of the men jump from the car, open her car door and snatch her bag before returning to the car which then drove off.

She called 999 but waited an hour for the police to arrive.

She said: “When they did arrive they told me that they had been out looking for the car, which is why they hadn’t come straight away, but when they said where they had been looking, it was in the opposite direction to the one I’d given when I called 999.”

The former Harpenden resident now lives in Dunstable but says she feels this incident highlights a growing concern among those who know the town and fear it is becoming a target for criminals.

She added: “This town is unrecognisable now, it’s so changed.

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“I really just want to warn other people about this incident because it happened so quickly and really took me by surprise.

“People should not assume anything valuable will be safe and should keep it with them at all times.”

The thieves took her bag which included expensive reading glasses as well as money, cards and her diary.

But the 78-year-old, who suffers from arthritis, said she would be grateful for just the bag to be returned to her as it was of particular importance.

She described it as a brown leather satchel bag with a couple of fasteners on the front, two inside compartments and a shoulder strap.

A spokesperson for Herts Police said: “Eleven officers were dispatched during the course of the incident, including officers from Traffic, the Neighbourhood Team and the immediate response team.

“In incidents of this kind, where the victim is safe and the incident has just happened, officers will always prioritise the apprehension of the offender and recovery of the property. This is because the offender may still be nearby.

“Officers followed the offender’s vehicle in the direction of Hitchin, after an Automatic Number Plate Recognition hit indicated this was the direction he had gone in.”

Anyone who has any information on this incident should call PC Ann-Marie Owen via the non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.