A WOMAN who had her £3,000 engagement ring stolen is pleading for help in finding the man who took it and getting it returned.
Police have released CCTV of a man they want to speak to in connection with the theft, and another similar crime that took place that same afternoon.
Emily Holmes, shop manager at SDM Coffee House and Design Studio, in West Street, Fareham, was on her own in the shop shortly before closing time at about 5.20pm on Wednesday, November 7.
Miss Holmes, 28, said: ‘I was on the phone at the front counter when this guy came in. He asked if he could wait in the shop for his mate, then he went and stood in the back corner of the shop.
‘A few moments later he came back and was acting really weird, then he swiftly walked out.
‘I noticed the door through to the staff room was ajar, so I looked out back, and saw he’d left his beanie hat. Then I saw that my iPhone was gone. It wasn’t until later that I realised my engagement ring was gone as well.’
There were others in the design studio part of the building, but the thief managed to get in and out without them noticing.
A gold ring bought in Dubai was also taken during the theft.
Miss Homes added: ‘The engagement ring was designed by my partner Stuart Mundy and obviously has huge sentimental value. I’m absolutely gutted.
‘I hope someone recognises him and he can be caught and that we can get the ring back.
‘This all happened just a few days after we opened up here and we’d been working so hard. It’s such a downer.’
At about 4.20pm the same day a man entered the staff room at Nandos restaurant in nearby Vannes Parade where he stole an iPhone from a staff member’s bag.
PC Tina Abrams, from Fareham police station, said: ‘I would like to hear from anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV image as we believe he can help us with our investigation.
‘These incidents provide a reminder to local businesses of the need to keep staff areas locked and secure to protect personal belongings and prevent this type of opportunistic crime.’
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact PC Abrams at Fareham police station by phoning 101.
Information can also be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.