A man who was identified in less than 24 hours after a West Midlands Police appeal was released to trace a handbag thief, has been jailed for three years and two months.
Divinder Bhadesh, of no fixed above, was standing on Market Place at the junction with Shambles in Wednesbury town centre on Monday 14 October at around 5.30pm, when a woman came and stood near to him while waiting for a taxi from the rank behind them. Bhadesh saw this as an opportunity to steal the 57-year-old woman’s handbag and stopped at nothing to make off with it.
The 23-year-old approached the woman from the side and grabbed the strap of her handbag from her shoulder and began tugging.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how the woman refused to let go and so Bhadesh pulled her to the floor, making her hit her head off a signpost and continued struggling with her for the bag.
The woman was left with broken fingers as he ran off down the road with her bag, which contained only £40 in cash, a debit card and personal items of no significant value.
West Bromwich neighbourhood and investigation teams began their enquiries and the next day, released images of the man that needed identifying for the violent robbery on Facebook and Twitter.
It took less than 24 hours for members of the public to put a name to his face and he was swiftly arrested.
In police interview, he admitted to the offence and said he needed money for medical treatment.
PC Adam Harris, from the West Bromwich Neighbourhood team, said: “This was a particularly nasty robbery in a busy area simply for a handbag that has left a woman needing further surgery to her fingers nearly a month on.
“The woman has been left traumatised because of this and it is unfair that other people could be put off from simply going about their business in the town centre alone.
“I’d like to thank all the eagle-eyed members of the community who contacted us to either give us a name or information on the area the man frequented. Ultimately, the quick-time release of his image and people’s willingness to help the police has ensured that this man is behind bars.”
Bhadesh was jailed for three years and two months yesterday (Thursday 14 November) and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £149.
Image credit: West Midlands Police