Croydon gang 'steamed' dozens of high street mobile phone shops
A GANG of mostly Croydon youths "steamed" dozens of major high street mobile phone shops to steal top of the range handsets and tablets.
Carphone Warehouse, O2 and Vodafone stores across London were targeted in a three-month spree last summer.
The gang traumatised staff and stole hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock from 45 separate shops between June and August 2012.
They would operate in groups of between four and 12 at a time, meeting up at transport hubs then travelling to their targets.
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Unwitting members of the public were often caught up as the gang pushed them out of the way while rushing into the shop and violently wrenching the phones and tablets from displays, complete with wires.
CCTV footage caught them ransacking Carphone Warehouse, in Trafalgar Way Retail Park, off Purley Way, on July 9 last year.
In response to the crime spree, which took place in boroughs north, south and east of the river, police set up Operation Minogue, led by the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) and supported by Croydon CID.
On Tuesday the gang were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court after each member pleaded guilty to one offence of conspiracy to commit burglary.
Detective Chief Inspector Robert Mahoney, from the NMPCU, said: "These offences should act as a warning to anyone involved in this type of activity that the MPS will robustly and swiftly deal with those who use intimidation to fulfil their greed.
"The professionalism of officers and staff will ensure this particular gang no longer represent a threat to Londoners."
Seven of the 12 cannot be identified for legal reasons as they are aged 17.
Christopher Street, 19, of Dagnall Park, South Norwood and Nyron Worrell, 18, of Buller Road, Thornton Heath were handed eight and 12 month suspended sentences respectively.
Simon Hibbert, 18, of Ecclesbourne Road, Thornton Heath, was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years.
Street and Hibbert were both ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
Kwasi Owusu Amankwaa, 18, of Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, is due to be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on March 4.
Laphaniel Fisher, 18, of Tooting Bec Gardens, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment.
Five of the under-age gang members were from Croydon. They were sentenced to between nine and 18 months.
One 17-year-old from Croydon failed to appear at court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Below is a video showing a raid on Carphone Warehouse in East Ham in July last year