A West Midlands police picture of a woman they want to trace in connection with the robbery in a shopping centre in Stourbridge. Photograph: West Midlands police/PA
Police are hunting a “truly despicable” thief who stole money from a woman while she was in the grip of an epileptic seizure.
West Midlands police have released a CCTV image of a woman they want to trace after the incident in the Ryemarket shopping centre in Stourbridge.
The victim had collapsed and begun violently fitting in a seizure that lasted 20 minutes. While passersby rushed to comfort her, police believe one person took advantage of the drama, reaching into the woman’s handbag and stealing £60 in cash.
Officers said the CCTV footage showed a woman moving the victim’s shopping trolley before leaving the market. DI Nigel Smith said: “It’s a truly despicable crime. The lady is clearly in great distress on the floor and, while most people’s immediate concern is for her wellbeing, one person sees it as an opportunity to steal from her.”
The victim made a full recovery and only afterwards realised her money had gone.
Smith added: “We’ve secured a CCTV image of a woman we need to speak to about the theft. She is one of around 12 people who were stood near the lady but is seen to quickly leave having put her hand on the shopping trolley. We’d urge anyone who believes they recognise the person in the CCTV to contact us.”
Police have described the woman they wish to trace as being white, in her 30s or 40s, about 5ft 5in tall and with long dark hair tied back in a ponytail. Anyone with information about the incident, which happened on the afternoon of 7 April, is urged to call the police on 101.