Police are hunting a conniving jewellery thief who preyed upon an 82-year-old woman in Luton.
The woman was walking along the street with her push trolley in Cuffley Close at 9.40am on Sunday 19 October.
She was stopped and asked for directions by a thick-set woman of Eastern European appearance.
The 82-year-old was then made uncomfortable by the suspect touching her shoulder in a false show of gratitude.
After trying to sell the elderly lady a bracelet, the suspect slipped a gold ring on to the victims finger on top of her other rings.
The elderly lady insisted she didn’t want this, and as the Eastern European woman went to remove the ring, she tried to prize off the other rings on the elderly lady’s finger as well.
A brief struggle ensued, the 82-year-old called out for help and the Eastern European woman fled in a dark vehicle that had been present throughout.
The suspect is described as an Eastern European woman, aged 45 to 50, of a thick, plump build with straight black hair tied back. She has a foreign accent.
Investigating officer DC Catherine Layton said: “We are very concerned about this incident as there have been 16 similar offences between February 2013 and October 2014, predominantly in Luton but also in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.
“Offences have occurred in Deep Denes, Woodland Avenue, Cuffley Close and Montrose Avenue, Luton.
“We would warn people, particularly elderly people whom this person is targeting, to keep their distance from strangers who ask for directions and to call for assistance if they attempt to touch them or offer to sell jewellery to them.”
Anyone with information can contact DC Catherine Layton in confidence on 101, or text 07786 200011.