Three prolific pickpockets have been jailed for a series of thefts across east London.
All three pleaded guilty at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 23 November following an investigation by the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) into thefts on the bus network.
Nuti Baeram, 39 (15.01.79) of no fixed address and Antonivici Duduianu, 43 (28.01.75) of no fixed address were both sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for 19 offences over an eight-month period.
Liviu George Bocaca, 27 (25.06.91) of no fixed address - who pleaded guilty to four of the same offences - and was sentenced on 28 months’ in prison.
They were all sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 30 November.
Detectives identified the two men and a woman - through extensive CCTV footage - as being responsible for the thefts in Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Redbridge between January and August this year.
They were found to primarily target elderly and vulnerable victims; the eldest was aged 93 years old.
Their tactics involved one of them offering to help a victim on or off of a bus as an accomplice either blocked the aisle or caused a backlog to prevent other people getting on. Whilst distracted, an accomplice would pickpocket the victim.
Other distraction methods including placing a scarf over the victim’s handbag.
In the majority of thefts, cash, bank cards and mobile phones were taken.
Detective Sergeant Shaun Holyhead, from the RTPC, said: “It is thought that the three defendants flew to and from the UK in order to carry out their crimes in the hope that they would be untraceable. However, with the extensive CCTV coverage on London buses, we were able to identify them, and with the vast amount of evidence, they had no choice but to plead guilty.
“The callousness they showed in targeting the elderly is truly shocking. In some of their crimes, they took what might appear to some, to be a small amount of cash, but to their victims it was significant and would have impacted on their lives.
“I hope their convictions will act as a deterrent to others who are intent on using the transport network to commit crime that they stand a very good chance of being caught and jailed.”
As Londoners begin to enjoy the festivities in the build up to Christmas, these convictions should act as a reminder that pickpockets and thieves will try to prey on people in bustling areas and crowded transport.
We would encourage people to remain vigilant and keep bags securely closed. Further crime prevention advice is available via our website