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Officers reunite owners with stolen phones following spate of robberies

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Officers reunite owners with stolen phones following spate of robberies

Police have returned nine stolen phones to their rightful owners after an early-morning robbery spree across Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and Newham.

On Wednesday, 18 May, officers from the Central East Robbery Task Force were on patrol in Hackney when they were called to a victim of robbery who had tracked her phone to a location nearby. 

The officers tracked the phone to a street in Hackney where they spotted a suspect who matched the description given by the victim. After a short foot chase, the suspect was stopped in Purcell Street and was found to be in possession of 11 phones for which he could not account for.

During further enquiries, a second suspect was identified, and upon searching their home address, two large knives were found, along with a large quantity of Class B drugs.

Both suspects were arrested, and enquiries began to trace the owners of the phones. Within 36 hours, nine of the phones had been safely reunited with their rightful owners.

After interviews and extensive enquiries by the investigation teams, the suspect who was found in possession of the phones was charged with 11 counts of robbery. He was remanded in custody to appear in court on Friday, 20 May. 

The second suspect was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, and possession of Class B drugs.

Detective Constable Lucy Dunwell, who is leading the investigation, said “This was a series of brazen crimes, perpetrated against victims who were just going about their morning, some of which were young, lone women; some were tourists from abroad. 

"The result today sends a strong message to those who are thinking of committing offences such as these, to think again. We will investigate and prosecute you for your involvement. 

"Robbery is a particularly invasive crime, with the victim's personal space being encroached upon and the appropriation of their property, often with serious violence.”

Detective Sergeant Kara Morgan, added: “I am very proud of the work of my teams today, and the fact that we have reunited so many victims with their property is very satisfying. 

"I hope that it provides some form of comfort to these victims now that they have their mobile phones back. These types of offences can happen very quickly, and victims often aren’t aware that their phone has been taken until it is too late. 

"I would urge people to be wary of their surroundings whilst using their mobile phones in public spaces and to be vigilant at all times. Report any offences of this nature to us as soon as they happen.”