James Rush, Daily Mail (London), February 10, 2013
A gang of a dozen youths ransacked 45 mobile phone shops, wrenching handsets and tablets worth hundreds of thousands of pounds from displays, a court has heard.
They ‘steamed’ into stores across London in a three-month spree last summer, Croydon Crown Court heard.
Innocent members of the public were often caught up in the fracas, as the gang pushed them out of the way after rushing into the shop, crowding into customers, and violently wrenching the stock from displays complete with wires.
The 12 youths who are aged 17 and 18, targeted Carphone Warehouse, O2 and Vodafone stores across London, in a three month spree last summer.
The group, who were arrested following an intelligence led operation by the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPC), stole stock from 45 separate shops targeted between June and August last year.
Travelling in groups of between four and 12 at a time, the gang would meet at transport hubs before travelling to the venue they planned to target.
The gang were sentenced on Tuesday after they all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit burglary.
Christopher Street, 19, from South Norwood, south London, was jailed to eight months suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours community service.
Laphaniel Fisher, 18, of Streatham, south London, was jailed for nine months and Nyron Worrell, 18, of Thornton Heath, south London, was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years.
Simon Hibbert 18, of Thornton Heath, south London, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years and 200 hours community service.
Kwasi Owusu Amankwaa, 18, of Thornton Heath, south London, is due to be sentenced next month.
Seven members of the gang who are aged 17, cannot be named for legal reasons.
Two of the youths, who are from the Croydon area, were jailed for 12 months, and another two youths, from Croydon, were jailed for 18 months and nine months.
A 17-year-old boy from Lambeth was also jailed for 12 months and another 17-year-old from Croydon was given a youth rehabilitation order for 18 months.
Another 17-year-old, from Croydon, failed to appear at court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Detective Chief Inspector Robert Mahoney from the NMPCU said: ‘Due to the hard work and dedication of officers from the NMPCU, a 12-strong Croydon street gang have been successfully convicted of serious offences that took place all over London.
‘These convictions should act as a warning that the MPS will robustly and swiftly deal with those who use intimidation to fulfill their greed.’
[Editor’s Note: Pictures of the perpetrators and surveillance video stills are available at the original article link below.]