West Midlands Police issued alerts on social media about the “Taser robberies.” They say they are investigating reports and have sent out extra patrols to catch the culprits.
In one shocking incident, a female runner was left with burns after she was attacked by three men in the affluent Kings Heath area of Birmingham.
Barbara Partridge, a member of the Kings Heath running club, wrote on the group’s Facebook page that the victim had been hit with a stun gun after she refused to give the men her car keys.
“She refused and an electric Taser device was used on her during a struggle. She managed to alert a passing van, the driver stopped and the men ran away. She was shaken [and] bruised.”
There have been similar incidents in the area since December. The Telegraph says there have been six reports of stun attacks in as many days, with four teenage boys arrested and bailed over one incident.
Robberies involving stun guns have also been reported elsewhere.
In November, a woman was tased by masked men in Salford, Greater Manchester, and her car keys stolen. She suffered blistering and grazing to her stomach.
Gang members are thought to have turned to stun guns, which can be bought online for £10 (US$12.40), because other weapons are not readily available.
Stun guns and Tasers are illegal in the UK and anyone caught with one of the devices faces imprisonment for possession of a prohibited weapon. The maximum sentence is 10 years.
Despite this, figures released at the end of 2015 show police forces across the country seized and destroyed hundreds of the weapons that year.
The devices are sometimes disguised as mundane items like mobile phones and lipsticks.