Poppy tin theft suspects identified an hour after public police appeal

Tins were stolen from a pharmacy, an off-licence, a butcher’s, and a dry cleaner’s in a short period of time.

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Police have identified two men wanted in connection with a spate of Poppy Appeal charity tin thefts, just an hour after West Midlands Police launched their public appeal.

The force released CCTV footage showing the thefts earlier today, and soon received calls from members of the public who believed they recognised the pair.

Officers are currently investigating seven thefts in Knowle, Meriden and Balsall after businesses reported that charity collection boxes in aid of The Royal British Legion between 27 and 30 October.

Police said tins were stolen from a pharmacy, an off-licence, a butcher’s, and a dry cleaner’s in a short period of time.

Detective Inspector Darren Lee said: “Our appeal got a really great response on social media and as a result of calls from the public, we have now identified two men we wanted to speak to about the thefts.

“We have already arrested a 21-year-old man from an address in Seashell Close, Coventry, this afternoon over the offences and we are actively trying to find a second man.

“I would like to thank all those who shared the appeal to trace the men and also, those who called in with the information.

“These thefts − which are totally unjustifiable and deplorable − are being fully investigated and we will keep the community updated with the progress of our inquiries."

Earlier in the day, Inspector Allan Green from Solihull explained that to take the tins, one of the men removed the tin while the other acted as a distraction to anyone who may have tried to disturb him.

Police described the first suspect as white, 6 feet tall, of a slim build, and in his 20s. He is often seen wearing a distinctive-checked deerstalker hat.

The other man is described as black, around 5 feet 11 inches, of a medium build, and also in his 20s.