Ten men have today, Friday 22 December, been jailed for a total of 110years and 1 month for taking part in 17 aggravated burglaries of mobile phone stores across east and north London.
They were all sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court today following two separate trials.
The first trial concluded at the same court on August 21. Chris Costi and Bobby Kennedy were found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary while Alfie Kennedy, Adam Attalah and Dylan Castano Lopez pleaded guilty.
The second trial concluded at the same court on Thursday, 23 November. Courtney White, Mominur Rahman, Mohammed Hussain, Chang Mabiala and Mohammed Ali were all found guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
Between 1 May 2016 and 27 November 2016 the men, and others from their gang, stole phones and tablets and caused significant damage to mobile phone stores. The total cost of phones and damage to the properties is estimated to value £1million.
Chris Costi, 20 (25.12.97), of Linscott Close, E5, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment.
Bobby Kennedy, 22 (01.05.95) of no fixed address but from the Islington area, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months imprisonment.
Alfie Kennedy, 21 (16.09.96), of Arlington Avenue, N1, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary during the first week of the trial. He was sentenced to 13 years and 1 month imprisonment
Adam Attalah, 21 (17.05.96), of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary during the first week of the trial. He was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months imprisonment
Dylan Castano Lopez, 20 (27.10.97), of Rust Square, SE5, plead guilty before the trial started to conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 10 years and 1 month imprisonment.
Courtney White, 23 (03.06.94), of Higham Road, N17, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
Mominur Rahman, 22 (20.02.95), of Maitland Park Road, Camden, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months imprisonment
Mohammed Hussain, 24 (02.10.93), of Goulton Road, E5, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment
Chang Mabiala, 22 (18.02.95), of Union Square, Islington, N1, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment
Mohammed Ali, 24 (26.10.93), of Newick Road, E5, pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 7 years and 1 month imprisonment.
The court heard how the men would arrive on mopeds wearing crash helmets and dark clothing before smashing their way into the stores armed with a variety of weapons and ransack the stock room.
Tools such as hammers, knives, portable angle grinders and a battering ram were used to gain access into the shops. During one of the robberies a witness was threatened with a firearm.
Three security staff at separate shops were beaten, some with weapons, as they guarded the stores overnight.
The phones and tablets were fitted with GPS trackers which were activated when they were moved from the storeroom shelf. This allowed officers to identify where the phones and tablets were at any given time.
Officers from Operation Vocare tracked the route that one of the phones had taken and identified two suspects at a minicab office.
A crash helmet was also identified as containing the DNA of one of the defendants.
On 14 October 2016, the gang targeted a phone shop in Walthamstow. A member of the public called the police and officers followed the suspects on their mopeds with police cars and a helicopter.
During this pursuit, one of the suspects discarded a mobile phone which contained correspondence about the attacks, including text messages about weapons they planned to use.
Six further suspects have been charged in relation to the burglaries and the handling of the stolen goods and will face trial in March 2018.
Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Danny Watts said: “We are very pleased with the totality of the sentences. This sends a clear message to criminals engaged in crimes using mopeds.”
Detective Superintendent Sean Yates, of Operation Venice, said: "These men are very dangerous criminals who have targeted a chain of mobile phone shops across central and east London. This case has led to dangerous individuals being taken off the streets; ultimately stopping them from committing more offences and causing serious injury to potential victims.
"We are pleased with the judge’s sentence. We are committed to relentlessly pursue those violent criminals who blight the communities they live in."