Appeal for information one year on from armed robbery
Police have today named a man they would like to speak to in connection with an armed robbery in which thousands of pounds of donations were stolen from Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
On June 21, 2011, charity staff were held hostage when three masked men raided the HQ in Brierley Hill and stole £12,000.
Officers are now appealing for information to locate Richard Oliver Gray, 30, who may be able to help with their enquiries.
Police were called to Enterprise Trading Estate off Pedmore Road, after three men, armed with a Taser Gun, held 13 members of staff hostage.
The offenders threatened terrified staff with the gun and forced them to hand over public donations. The men then escaped from the scene in a Peugeot 308, belonging to a member of staff. The car was later recovered in the Dudley area.
Hanna Sebright, CEO of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity said: “A year on and the team still find it hard to comprehend that people could steal money from a lifesaving charity. We know that the public feel as strongly as we do about this disgraceful theft and we hope that the three men responsible will be brought to justice soon.”
Hanna added; “The £12,000 taken from the Charity could have paid for vital lifesaving equipment such as a new Cardiac Monitor. A great deal of hard work, passion and commitment went into raising such a large sum of money.
However, those responsible have not stopped the staff, public, volunteers and donors continuing to raise funds, on the contrary, This despicable act has given the team a stronger sense of determination. The charity is now in its 21st anniversary year and we have proved that the actions of these individuals will not stop us saving lives.”
Without donations the charity, which is solely funded by public generosity, would not be able to operate. Midlands Air Ambulance Charity receives no government or national lottery funding and needs £6.5 million pounds a year to carry out the invaluable work it does.
Detectives are urging anyone who can supply the whereabouts of Mr Gray to come forward.
Detective Sergeant Jim Munro, from West Midlands Police major investigation team, said; “We are appealing for anyone who may know the whereabouts of Mr Gray to contact us. Gray is also wanted in connection to a robbery that occurred at Dudley MBC, Pear Tree Lane, Coseley, on 7 June 2011. The incidents happened within a few weeks of each other and police believe that they may be linked.
Did you witness any of the incidents? If you can remember anyone acting suspiciously in a dark coloured Mondeo at the time of the incidents we would like to hear from you. We are determined to keep investigating these robberies and would urge anyone who can help us to come forward.”
If anyone has any information that could help the investigations then please call DS Munro and his team by contacting West Midlands Police on 101. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers the independent charity anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.