|Tube Pickpocket From Southall Jailed|
30 weeks in prison for thief who stole from unaware commuters
A pickpocket from Southall who tried to steal from a Tube passenger has been jailed, after he was caught unzipping the victim’s bag.
Cornel Croitoru (53), of Windermere Road, Southall, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, 13 April.
He was sentenced to 30 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to theft and attempted theft.
On Friday, 12 April around 3.45pm, plain clothed BTP officers noticed Croitoru acting suspiciously at Victoria London Underground (LU) station so followed him on to a northbound train.
During the journey Croitoru was looking around at other passengers’ property and was seen to unzip a man’s rucksack.
Croitoru noticed one of the officers looking at him so zipped the bag back up and left the train at Oxford Circus station.
Both Croitoru and the victim boarded the same Bakerloo line train, where officers arrested him and informed the victim of what happened.
The officers had also linked Croitoru’s appearance to a person wanted for the theft of a mobile phone, which occurred on 23 February at Warren Street LU station.
The victim had been using his mobile phone to play games onboard a Victoria line train and put it in his pocket.
When the train arrived at Warren Street, Croitoru brushed past him and took the phone.
Speaking after the sentencing, PC Steve Bryan, the investigating officer, said: “The victim had no idea that Croitoru was trying to steal from his rucksack. Thankfully our officers from the pickpocket squad were able to prevent this from happening and Croitoru was arrested, prosecuted and jailed within 24 hours.
PC Bryan added: “BTP has recently launched Operation Magnum, an initiative designed to crack down on the theft of passenger’s property.
“Our pickpocket squad officers patrol the Tube network every day and are highly trained in spotting the kind of behaviour that tells them someone is intent on theft.
“We arrest these types of offenders every day but there are also lots of things that passengers can do to make sure they protect themselves from pickpockets.
“Remember to zip up your bags and hold them in front of you with the flaps against your body, keep your jewellery, mobile phones and MP3 players hidden and stay alert to what’s going on around you.”
Tips for keeping your property safe on London’s Tubes and trains:
Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket
19th April 2013