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Thieves Break into Air Ambulance Office; Take Hostages and Steal Donations

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Just a week after we reported on the fake air ambulance charity scammers operating in the UK, diverting life-saving funds away from real air ambulance charities like Midlands Air Ambulance, there is more unfortunate news. The Midlands Air Ambulance charity has now been the victim of a heartless heist. Yesterday morning, three armed, masked men burst into the offices of Midlands Air Ambulance and threatened employees with a taser gun, before making off with several money bags filled with thousands of GBP of donations. (1 GBP =$1.61 USD)

It happened just before 9 in the morning. The three men forced their way into the Midlands Air Ambulance base in Brierly Hill, UK and held twenty members of the staff hostage for approximately half an hour as they stole a large sum of cash from the air ambulance. The workers had their phones taken to prevent them from calling authorities. The intruders then stole a worker’s car to get away with the stolen donations.

All of the money stolen by the three men was made up of public donations needed to keep the air ambulance flying and saving lives.

“This despicable act could actually cost people’s lives,” said the director of the Midlands Air Ambulance charity, Hanna Sebright. She added that a number of the workers who were threatened during the incident were “quite traumatized.”

West Midlands detectives have already launched a full investigation, and are appealing to the public for witnesses. They are also examining the closed-circuit TV footage for further clues.

The facts:
-The 3 men escaped with multiple bags of money
-The 3 men got away from the scene in a stolen car, a gray Peugeot 308 (the model pictured below)

-The gray Peugeot 308 may have been seen leaving the area at approximately 9:15 AM.
-The 3 men were in their 20s, black, and wearing scarves to hide their faces.
-The car used in the getaway has yet to be recovered, so detectives are interested in hearing from anyone who may have seen a gray Peugeot 308 dumped or parked suspiciously.

Any people with information on this incident are asked to please contact the West Midlands Police at: 0345 113 5000.

“I find it hard to comprehend that people would commit such a violent crime and steal money from a life-saving charity. Dedicated people have gone to great lengths to raise money for the charity, and it is appalling that it will be unable to be used for the purpose of keeping the air ambulances in the air,” said Sebright.

Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt in this reprehensible crime. However, the money stolen was to be used directly in saving the lives of people requiring emergency services. Therefore, in a direct way, the thieves have taken the very resources the air ambulance relies upon to save the lives of people who are in the most need of urgent care.

Without donations, the air ambulance, which operates solely on generosity from the public, would not be able to operate. The Midlands Air Ambulance receives no funding from the government or elsewhere and requires approximately 6 million GBP to carry out over 3000 life-saving emergency missions a year.

Though the men’s criminal actions would have been reprehensible regardless of the circumstances, it begs the question: Out of all the places to target, why something like an air ambulance charity?

“There’s scum, and then there are people like these, lower than scum,” said one member of the public commenting on the incident.

“I hear of people shoplifting from charity shops, and then there’s this. I hope if they do end up in a situation where emergency services are required to save their lives, no one bothers to call… sick is not the word,” said another dismayed citizen.

The heist took place a mere two days after the air ambulance charity had received a generous donation of over 1,000 GBP from a nearby fitness club who had raised money through a large-scale bikeathon. A member of that club had been involved in a very serious motorcycle crash, and the air ambulance crew had come to his aid and done everything they could to help him.

As we reported last week, the charity has long been battling air ambulance charity impersonators who are aiming to siphon donation funds away from real air ambulance services to grow their own pockets. Although no links between the two have been established, it is at least coincidental that this sudden raid took place so soon after the crackdown on the air ambulance charity scammers began.

What are your thoughts on this incident? Please leave your comments below.

Reference: worcesternews.co.uk, midlandsairambulance.co.uk

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Discussion
  1. 6 / 22 / 2011 11:53 pm

    Great story and well written! Thank you for sharing! It is both incredible and sad the things some people will do for money. I hope that Midlands Air Ambulance’s Program is able to recover from this, and that they catch the thieves!

    Reply

  2. Jeff Mariash

    8 / 3 / 2011 9:23 pm

    Inside Job

    Reply

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