Published: 00:01, 16 September 2017
A widow is pleading for thieves who snatched her handbag while she was shopping to return a mobile phone that was inside as it has irreplaceable photos of her late husband on it.
Pauline Sands, 71, who has difficulty walking, was on her own in frozen food store Iceland in Dartford High Street when her handbag was stolen from the bottom of her mobility trolley, which has its own seat and bag.
The grandmother-of-three, who was married for 48 years, said: “The bag had two mobile phones in it and one belonged to my late husband Peter, who died 18 months ago.
"It had photos of him when he was young, and pictures of us together and they can’t be replaced.
“Peter used to be in an Irish country band called Randy Free years ago and there are also pictures of that on there.
“I was shocked more than anything. I’ve never had anything like that happen to me before.
"I don’t even know how they knew my bag was in the trolley. I didn’t see them take my bag.
"I just turned back and it was gone, but I saw it on CCTV in Iceland.
“There were two of them, one was aged about 40 and the other about 30.
"If either of them are reading this, I would ask them to please return the phone somehow" - Pauline Sands
"Staff told me they believe they were the same men who stole someone’s handbag from Iceland back in April.
“If either of them are reading this, I would ask them to please return the phone somehow.
"They could take it to the police or Iceland, they can do what they like as long as they get it back to me. Everything else in the bag I can replace but the photos, I can’t.”
The defiant pensioner, of Hawley Road, is determined not to let the crime, which happened on Saturday, affect her independence and has already been shopping by herself again.
She said: “My grandson Daniel Sayer, who’s 24 and lives with me, reacted with anger.
"He told me I wasn’t going shopping on my own any more and said he would come with me.
"But I went out on Monday and went into Iceland to see if they’d heard anything, but they hadn’t.
“I was a bit upset on Saturday and Sunday but that was more the fact I’ve lost the phone.”
Between 9.15am and 10am on Friday, April 7 another woman in her 70s had her purse stolen from her trolley in Iceland.
The Dartford Messenger printed CCTV images of two men police wanted to speak to in connection with the theft, but no one has been arrested.
Mrs Sands, a retired accounts clerk, said Iceland staff told her it had happened a third time too.
An Iceland spokesman said: “Our sympathies are with the customer involved in the incident, which occurred at our Dartford store.
“All information has been passed onto the police and we will assist them with any inquiries.”
A police spokesman said: “Kent Police received a report of a theft at an Iceland store in Dartford High Street at 11.36am on Saturday, September 9.
“Two men are reported to have stolen a handbag from a woman.
“Officers attended the scene and conducted a search of the area. The men remain outstanding.
“Inquiries are ongoing into the incident.
“Officers would like to speak to anyone with further information or who know the identity of those involved.”
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