Detective Inspector Paul Ridley appeared on Crimewatch Roadshow to appeal for information following two suspected linked aggravated burglaries targeting Asian gold in Enfield, where one elderly woman was threatened with a knife.
Detectives have released images of the stolen jewellery and CCTV footage of people they need to identify.
On Friday, 20 September at approximately 21:30hrs an 81-year-old woman was in bed at her home on Winsford Terrace on Great Cambridge Road, N18.
Two men barged through her bedroom door and produced a sharp weapon, which they then held to her face and threatened her with before demanding valuables.
One of the men then forcibly pulled off four bangles from each of her two wrists as the other man rifled through her belongings in the other rooms.
The terrified victim warned that police were on their way and the men fled through a rear garden and climbed over a wall discarding stolen property belonging to the woman.
The woman suffered bruising to her arms from the force of the bangles being removed. She was otherwise not seriously injured.
CCTV footage has been obtained which shows two men acting suspiciously at 21:23hrs in an alleyway near the victim’s home. One man is wearing distinctive tracksuit trousers with a stripe running along the leg. He is also carrying a pillowcase.
Several minutes later, two men appear on bicycles and are captured loitering at the end of the alleyway. The men then make off out of camera shot.
On Sunday, 22 September at around 21:00hrs, a 53-year-old woman and her 65-year-old husband were at their home on Carterhatch Lane in Enfield.
The woman was downstairs when she heard loud banging at the front door. As she stood up, the door was opened and a man demanded money and gold.
The man began searching the house searching for valuables; despite the victim’s protests that there were none, she was forced to lead him to the master bedroom where he rummaged through drawers and cupboards before slapping her in the face and demanding money.
The victim’s husband was in another room; he was confronted by two men armed with hammers and ordered to get on the floor. They too demanded cash and gold and threatened to kill him.
The three suspects then left the house.
The suspects are described as white men, aged between 20 and 35 years old, and wearing bandanas.
Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, from North Area CID, is leading the investigation. He said: “The CCTV which we have released today shows four men who I need to speak to as a priority. All are acting in a suspicious manner and one of the men is carrying an empty pillowcase – this is often synonymous with individuals who carry out burglaries. We have scoured the area for footage and these are the only people in the vicinity at the time of the offence. I am convinced they know something.
“I have also released an image of the pensioner’s stolen bangle. This was of significant sentimental value, as it had been passed down through many generations. The victim, as well as being physically injured and threatened, has been left devastated and no longer wants to remain at home; this is a house she has occupied for a long period of time. These callous men have destroyed her life.
“The offences occurred a short distance away from each other along the ‘A10 corridor.’ I believe the suspects may have used a vehicle and the main road as a conduit to provide an accessible access and escape route.
“If you witnessed anyone arriving or leaving these locations, or know who is responsible, then come forward as a priority. My investigation team will continue to follow every line of enquiry. I want these men caught; to target people in their homes, the places where they should feel most safe, is despicable and pure cowardice.
“It has been a week since the first offence and I can reassure residents that increased patrols have been deployed in the area. These burglaries targeted high-value Asian gold and I would strongly recommend that residents review their home security in line with the burglary prevention advice which has been issued by the Met, particularly at this time of the year with Diwali fast-approaching and the nights drawing in.
“I would also urge any members of the public who may have been offered the stolen jewellery for sale or have CCTV or dashcam footage of the burglars to approach police.”
No arrests have been made and enquiries continue.
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is urged to contact North Area CID via 101, or by tweeting @MetCC.
Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.
Burglary advice is available on the Met's website.