Birmingham Broad Street bar managers tell of prolific thief targeting venues

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A prolific thief has been spotted targeting bars on Broad Street in Birmingham city centre

Bar managers along Birmingham’s Golden Mile of entertainment - on Broad Street in the city centre - have told how they spotted a thief targeting their venues.

The alleged offender was spotted breaking into premises in Brindleyplace also - stealing staff property, bottles of drink and food.

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Steve Emmison, manager of the Velvet Rooms, told how a man was caught on CCTV forcing his way into the bar, when it was closed, through a side door using a knife or a screwdriver.

An offender has also allegedly targeted bars as they are opening up. Steve claimed that almost every bar on Broad Street had been affected.

The Malt House and All Bar One shared pictures of a thief targeting their venues in a WhatsApp group - which led to the discovery that the same suspect was targeting all the bars. The suspect was then spotted at The Soloman and Cutler on Sunday, September 24. Police were notified and a man was arrested.

Broad Street, BirminghamBroad Street, Birmingham
Broad Street, Birmingham | Westside BID

Steve, from the Velvet Music Rooms, said: “We hadn’t opened, but we caught him on camera trying to break through a side door. We could see that he was carrying a knife or a screwdriver because he was trying to jemmy the door open. From us, he went somewhere else and stole staff belongings.

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“He was trying to break into bars when they were closed or walking inside as they were setting up and just going into staff areas and stealing belongings or taking drinks from the bar. 

“He was very much preying on businesses on Westside. He has pretty much tried every single bar on Broad Street. The WhatsApp group was set up in 2019 involving all the bars on Broad Street and Brindleyplace. It enables us to help other venues, so if one premises throws someone out, or a customer runs up a big tab and leaves without paying, then you can notify everyone else.”

Peter Willis, the senior street warden on the Westside Business Improvement District (BID), said: “There has been a lot of thefts of staff bags, bottles, restaurant food, over the past month or so. The offender has been absolutely prolific, business after business were reporting thefts. He has been stealing with impunity and acting aggressively when challenged.

“The WhatsApp managers’ group, representing many of the businesses in the Westside area, made a coordinated effort to gain evidence against this man through CCTV, keep police and each other informed, and then finally ensure he was arrested. By sharing information through this managers’ group, we knew the area was being targeted.”

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Mike Olley, general manager at Westside BID, said: “This arrest clearly demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of our venues’ managers coming together on WhatsApp to safeguard their premises and staff by sharing vital information.”

A man is now due to appear in court on 24 October charged with burglary offences. He has been remanded in custody.