POLICE investigating a spate of ‘despicable’ thefts across Horsham have arrested a woman in connection with the crimes.
It is believed she may be responsible for stealing keys from people in hospitals and using them to burgle victims’ unattended homes, say police.
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 East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, after the theft of a purse from a 98-year-old patient.
The 48-year-old woman was arrested by officers in Canvey Island, Essex, on suspicion of absconding from prison and subsequently by Sussex detectives on suspicion of theft on Tuesday (November 22).
She has been remanded to prison.
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.
“I should like to thank the media and everyone who responded to our recent appeal to identify this woman. I have no doubt that it led directly to her arrest.”