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Police have released images of a woman who is wanted in connection with thefts from hospitals and burglaries in Horsham and Crawley.
It is believed that the woman may be responsible for stealing keys from people in hospital and then using them in burglaries on the victims' unattended homes.
The first burglary took place in Albery Close, Horsham, on Monday, November 7, at around 3pm. A woman meeting the suspect's description was spotted by a witness leaving the flat. The elderly victim believes that her door key had been taken from her bag while she was in St George's Hospital in Tooting, London.
The suspect was first captured on CCTV at Crawley Hospital at around 4.25pm on November 7. She had struck up a conversation with another elderly victim, who noticed that her bag had gone missing after she had left. The suspect went to the victim's unoccupied home in Burwash Road, Furnace Green, using keys from the bag to burgle the property. At 5pm she was confronted leaving the address by a witness.
At 6pm that day, she was filmed leaving a ward at the East Surrey Hospital at Redhill, after the theft of a purse from a 98-year-old patient.
Detective Constable Paul Voigt from West Sussex CID said: "This is a despicable series of thefts and burglaries, following a trail which has obviously been carefully planned. In the pictures we have from the East Surrey Hospital, she can clearly be seen counting the money in the purse. We need to identify and speak to her, before she strikes again. If you recognise her or have any information about the incidents, please call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 597 of 08/11 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."