Four arrests in hunt for Black Country burglary gang
Four men have been arrested in connection with the spate of recent burglaries at pensioners' homes across the Black Country.
The suspects - aged 43, 28, 25 and 20 - were all arrested in the Goldthorn Park area of Wolverhampton last night on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle and remain in police custody today.
But detectives believe more members of the gang could still be on the loose and a dedicated team of officers are continuing to work around the clock to catch those involved, West Midlands Police said.
CCTV is being fast tracked and forensic evidence is being examined, while extra officers have been drafted in to patrol the areas affected to reassure residents.
A force spokesman was unable to confirm whether the men were detained in a pre-planned raid or caught in the act and would not say where the suspects are from.
It comes after 29 reports of similar burglaries in 10 days - including six incidents in Wednesday night alone - where men gained entry to elderly people's houses by using brute force or conning their way in by posing as police officers and "water board" workers.
On Wednesday masked men struck in Penn Fields, Wolverhampton, where they forced their way into a property and assaulted a 75-year-old woman before stealing jewellery
And in Walsall a masked man forced his way into the home of an 87-year-old woman, claiming to be a police officer before taking jewellery and cash from her bedroom.
In two incidents in Smethwick and Tipton the gang left empty-handed after failing to get into the homes they targeted and in Coseley masked men fled after realising they were being filmed on a doorbell camera.
Remain vigilant, say police
Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner said today: "Although the arrests are a significant development, I am still urging the community to remain vigilant in their neighbourhoods and to continue to look out for each other.
“This remains a top priority for police in the Black Country at present and there’s a dedicated team of detectives working round the clock to identify those responsible for this terrible series of break in’s targeting elderly, vulnerable people in our communities.
“We’re working closely with our partners, particularly those in the health and social sector and trusted charities to raise their awareness of what’s happening, so that they can pass relevant information and advice on to elderly people they come into contact with on a day to day basis.
“We’re asking the public to help by taking a look at the CCTV and contacting us if they have information that could help us identify the people in the images.
“A considerable number of the break-ins have happened in the afternoon between 6pm and 9pm, and so if people have seen cars or individuals that are not usually in their street, are new to the area, or seem suspicious for any reason, then I’d continue to urge them to report those concerns to us as soon as possible.
"If someone calls at your door and you’re not expecting anyone, ask for their ID but if you’re still unsure, I would encourage you to please call us."
Last Saturday five homes were targeted, with a deaf 89-year-old man threatened with a brick in Amblecote and an elderly female victim taken to hospital after a suspected heart attack.
An 89-year-old woman in Dudley was also targeted that day, while an 84-year-old man in Bilston had an unknown substance sprayed in his face after his door was kicked open.
Those raids followed a series of burglaries in Walsall the week before, including one where the home of an 89-year-old man with dementia was ransacked.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk or by calling 101. In an emergency dial 999.
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