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Detectives investigating purse thefts in Poole, Christchurch and Wimborne want to speak with these two women...
A police spokesperson said:
Throughout August of this year, police have received five similar reports of purses being stolen in the East of the county – three in Christchurch and one each in Poole and Wimborne.
Detective Constable Robin Bentall, of Bournemouth and Poole CID, said:
"Following further enquiries, we now believe that all five of these upsetting incidents are linked.
"I am releasing CCTV images of two young women who may have important information about these offences.
"I would urge the women pictured – and anyone who recognises them – to contact me, in confidence, as soon as possible."
The first incident happened on Tuesday, 9 August 2011 at around 2pm in the Marks and Spencer store along Christchurch High Street. A 79-year-old Christchurch woman had her purse stolen from her handbag, which was resting in a trolley.
Later that afternoon, between 1.50pm and 2.15pm, a 56-year-old woman from the West Midlands area also had her purse stolen from her handbag as she visited shops in the town.
On Thursday, 11 August, police received a report that a purse had been stolen from a 69-year-old Wimborne woman as she shopped in Wimborne town centre between 2.30pm and 3pm.
A purse was also stolen from an 82-year-old Wareham woman at around 11am in Poole on Tuesday, 16 August 2011.
Finally, an 83-year-old Christchurch woman was the victim of a purse theft in Christchurch town centre between 2pm and 2.20pm on Wednesday, 24 August 2011.
DC Bentall continued:
"These thefts have caused a great deal of distress and inconvenience for the five victims and I would urge anyone who witnessed any of these incident to contact Dorset Police urgently.
"All calls will be treated in the strictest of confidence."
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 01202 22 22 22 quoting incident number 09:272. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.