POLICE today issued CCTV images of a man thought to have snatched a handbag from an 82-year-old woman in a motorised wheelchair after pretending to help her cross the road.
The suspect, believed to be in his early 20s, targeted the pensioner after she had left the Scotmid store in Portobello High Street.
As the victim approached Bellfield Lane, the man posing as a Good Samaritan offered to assist her crossing the street and spoke to her briefly before grabbing her bag and running off.
Detectives said the elderly woman had been left “badly shaken” by the daylight theft as they appealed for anyone who recognised the images to contact police.
Age Scotland, the charity which campaigns for older people, also condemned the bag snatch as “despicable”.
The images have been released to the Evening News three months after the theft, which took place at around 3.30pm on Monday, August 13.
Officers hope that the CCTV footage will help identify the culprit following a successful public appeal earlier this week.
On Monday, police released security camera footage from two Lothian buses of a man suspected to have stalked and attacked a frail 89-year-old pensioner in the Grange on October 20 after watching him use an ATM machine.
A 47-year-old man was arrested and appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court the following day.
The suspect in the Portobello bag snatch was last seen to cross Bellfield Lane and enter a nearby doctor’s surgery car park.
The man is described as white, in his early 20s, 5ft 4in tall, with brown hair, and wearing a white short-sleeved T-shirt with diagonal writing across the chest.
Detective Constable Simon Berwick said: “While the victim wasn’t injured, she was left badly shaken as a result of this incident.
“We are keen to speak to the man who is shown in the CCTV footage, and we would urge anyone who recognises him to contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0131-311 3131, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
A spokesman for Age Concern said: “Posing as a good neighbour to take advantage of a vulnerable person is despicable. We hope that the police are able to apprehend the person responsible for this crime and that justice is done.”