IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Phone thieves hop on pushbikes

10 May, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Police inspector Richard Berns

CHILDREN as young as 11 are now using pedal cycles instead of loud mopeds to sneak up and snatch mobile phones off unsuspecting victims, police have warned.

The new development follows a crackdown on moped bandits who have wreaked havoc in recent years by snatching valuables from pedestrians.

Police began ramming mopeds off the road as part of their fightback, but now senior officers believe thieves are using “stealth” tactics to grab top-of-the-range phones.

The Tribune has learned that among the thefts have been grabs in York Way in King’s Cross, with one victim having an iPhone swiped by a teenager in a balaclava who was passing on a pedal bike last week.

Police inspector Richard Berns said: “Cycle-enabled phone thieves share much of the same methodology as the moped-enabled ones but what they lack in raw speed, they make up for in stealth.

“Cycles are quiet and many victims won’t even know the suspect was there until it’s too late and he is riding away with their phone in hand.”

Police have been using a controversial ramming strategy – known as “tactical contact” – against suspected muggers to knock them off mopeds and force them to stop.

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