Police patrols increased after string of bag thefts in Welwyn Garden City supermarket’s car park

PUBLISHED: 11:59 28 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:59 28 June 2017

Waitrose's car park in Welwyn Garden City has been targeted by thieves. Picture credit: google Street View.

Waitrose's car park in Welwyn Garden City has been targeted by thieves. Picture credit: google Street View.

Archant

Police patrols and security in a Welwyn Garden City supermarket’s car park have been upped following a string of handbag thefts.

There have been four similar incidents in Waitrose’s car park off Bridge Road within the last three months, all of which involved valuables being snatched from vehicles.

A police spokesman said: “On one occasion a handbag was stolen from on a car seat while the victim was loading shopping into the vehicle, and another the bag was stolen from a seat while the victim was sat in the car.

“In the final two cases, bags were left unattended in vehicles when they were stolen.

“No physical force was used against the victims in any of these incidents and we believe they were likely to be opportunistic crimes.”

One of the victims, Michele Karr, 50, said in her case nothing was caught on CCTV, and she fears the crooks know exactly where the blind spots are.

She added: “They [Waitrose] are not making customers aware and are telling victims that there is not a problem.

“I’m just concerned that it is happening quite a lot and customers are not being warned.”

No arrests have been made at this stage, but the police spokesman confirmed that investigations are ongoing.

He added: “We would urge people to be careful about leaving valuables unattended in vehicles, even if it is left only for a very short period of time.

“The Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team monitors crime reported locally on a daily basis and where appropriate will adjust their patrol patterns accordingly, in order to tackle any issues as they arise and deter criminals.”

A Waitrose spokesman said: “The well-being of our customers and partners is paramount so we take these three incidents extremely seriously.

“We are continuing to support the police with their investigation and have provided them with our CCTV footage.

“The Police Community Support Officers and our own undercover security officer have increased their patrols of the car park.

“Our car park attendants and partners are being extra vigilant and we would ask everyone to report any suspicious activity.”

Anyone with information can contact police via non-emergency number 101.

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