A teenager responsible for 18 smartphone snatches at Brixton rail station has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Efe Idiahoke, 17, of Evandale Road, Brixton was sentenced after appearing at Inner London Crown Court on Friday, 20 April. At an earlier hearing he pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery and two counts of theft, with a further 10 robberies taken into consideration by the court.
The court heard that between Monday, 28 November 2011 and Wednesday, 8 February 2012, Idiahoke boarded trains at Herne Hill rail station in south London and stalked train carriages on the lookout for distracted passengers using their iPhones and other smartphones.
When a train arrived at Brixton, one stop later, Idiahoke would wait until the carriage doors were set to close before forcefully snatching the phone and making a quick escape.
The tactic is common amongst phone robbers but detectives were able to link the Brixton series of offences to Idiahoke with the help of digitally-enhanced CCTV images.
Despite no clear pattern in terms of the day or time that Idiahoke would strike, British Transport Police (BTP) officers carried out daily patrols at Brixton, both in uniform and plain-clothes, with Robbery Squad detectives spotting him and arresting him on 10 February.
When questioned by detectives, Idiahoke admitted each offence, adding that he pawned the phones to shops in Brixton for roughly £150 each.
Det Sgt Steve Maguire, of the BTP Robbery Squad, said: “Initially it was difficult to identify a suspect from the CCTV images, but digital-enhancement of the images allowed us to confirm Idiahoke as being responsible for all 18 offences.
“Distracted passengers using highly-valuable phones proved opportune targets for Idiahoke, with many victims left distressed and shaken by the ordeal, and we welcome the prison sentence handed down to him.”
Restrictions on reporting the teenager’s name were lifted by the court.