Officers have released an image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with an investigation into a series of linked thefts in the Victoria area.
The first theft took place at approximately 18:00hrs on Monday 1 October, at a hotel on Lower Belgrave Street.
The victim told police the suspect put his coat over her bag and then walked off. On viewing CCTV, officers noticed the suspect had sat near the victim’s table and used his feet to pull the bag towards him.
He then took the purse from the bag and slid the bag back to its original location. He then left the hotel. He was not a guest at the hotel.
The second theft took place on Tuesday, 9 October at a restaurant on Buckingham Palace Road, SW1 at 15:10hrs.
The suspect entered the restaurant and stole a purse from the victim’s handbag before he sat at the bar and then left. He then used the card at a nearby supermarket to purchase goods.
The third, fourth and fifth thefts all took place on Friday, 26 October in Sir Simon Milton Square. The first happened at 08:45hrs in a coffee shop. The victim told officers her purse and cash was stolen from a cloakroom by a workman at the property.
At 18:20hrs, CCTV showed the suspect entering a restaurant on the same road via the rear door. He walked into the staff room and took two wallets from members of staff. One of the victim’s checked his account in the evening and noticed that money had been used at a local supermarket.
The last theft took place at 18.50hrs at a different restaurant on the same road. The victim, a woman in her 30s, told officers that, as she sat down for her meal, she placed her handbag on the back of her chair. When she later went to grab her handbag, she found it was missing.
CCTV showed the suspect approaching the victim’s chair with a coat over his arm. He then lifted the victim’s bag from her chair and left the restaurant.
All five thefts are being treated as linked.
Police Sergeant Karl Rees, who is leading the investigation, said: “We would like the public’s help to identify this man, who we would like to speak to in connection with these five thefts from around the Victoria area.
“Not only does it feel incredibly violating when someone takes your possessions, but it is also a real inconvenience for the victims.
“I would urge anyone who recognises this man to contact police as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 020 8321 9292 and quote TDIU report 27038/05Oct18. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or tweet @MetCC.