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Theft in café this afternoon

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Wednesday 11 May 2016 5.04pm
Hello all,

Just wanted to report a theft in a local café (don't want to name it and harm its reputation - situated in the vicinity of Borough station and run by nice people!) this afternoon and warn residents about the risk in the area.

My wife, her friend and their two 9 month old babies were enjoying a coffee in said cafe this afternoon, when a lady, about 50-60 years old, wearing t-shirt and shorts, heavily built with short grey hair, came to sit next to them. She did not buy anything and was carrying a copy of a broadsheet newspaper and a carrier bag.

The lady appeared to have a degree of learning difficulties and engaged my wife and the babies in conversation, while sitting too close to them and pushing the newspaper in my wife's face.

After the lady left, my wife realised that her purse, which was in my son's changing bag, had been taken. Naturally she was very upset but quickly cancelled her cards and then reported the theft at the police station on Borough High Street. A little later, my wife received a call from John Harvard library to tell her that the library's security guard had spotted the same lady in the library, acting oddly, and had then seen her dump something in a bin nearby. Amazingly, the purse was recovered from the bin with only a few coins taken (fortunately there was very little cash in it) and all of the cards and other contents still in place. Clearly the lady was only interested in cash, despite the purse itself probably being worth a reasonable amount and there being lots of different cards, a driving licence etc. in it.

My wife had only just renewed her library card the other day, and it was from the card that the library knew her contact details. Naturally, she was absolutely delighted and very thankful to the security guard!

Hopefully no-one else will be affected by this - but just wanted to bring the lady's description to everyone's attention. She seemed to be adopting behaviour deliberately designed to distract my wife from the fact that she was trying to remove her purse from the bag. I hope that she wasn't successful in stealing anything in the library (or anywhere else!).
Wednesday 11 May 2016 7.21pm
Very sorry for your wife's distress, but the library's actions shows there are still human beings in SE1. In fact lots of them.
Hope she is OK
Wednesday 11 May 2016 8.13pm
Very sorry this happened but refreshing how many good people are still around,
I hope you all feel better after this nasty incident as soon as possible. Thanks for the heads up. Very best wishes to you all
Thursday 12 May 2016 9.05am
Hope the library has cameras and can provide a picture of the thief to the police. Most likely she is local and known to them already...
Thursday 12 May 2016 10.08am
Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes - we certainly do feel lucky to live in an area which, while it can sometimes feel a bit gritty due to things like this, is full of kind, decent people.

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