Cunning thief steals hotel worker’s phone while they are TALKING by sliding a piece of paper over it and distracting his victim with questions
- The thief uses the sheet of paper to ask a question while he picks up the phone
- He then shakes the London concierge’s hand before leaving with the device
- Police saw the number of these thefts double in January in the City of London
A nimble-fingered thief stole a hotel concierge’s phone while he was asking the worker for help.
The criminal places a sheet of paper over the phone while he asks questions and then picks it up. When he pulls away the sheet of paper, the phone has disappeared.
Police say thefts like this doubled in January in the City of London, and are warning people to be more vigilant.
The man places the piece of paper over the phone, asks the London concierge some questions while he’s grabbing the phone, and then picks up the sheet of paper while holding the phone underneath
After taking the device he asks a few more questions and even shakes the concierge’s hand before leaving
Shocking footage shows the criminal come into the hotel wearing a camouflage patterned top and black hat to ask for some help.
He leans over and places the sheet of paper over the phone and then uses his right hand to grab it.
Once he has the phone he then pulls his hand away while still talking to the concierge.
He then stays for a few moments longer, grabs a leaflet to ask the concierge about, and even shakes his hand before leaving.
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People have previously been jailed for distracting others before stealing their property.
Magdalena Stanescu, 38, was jailed last month for eights weeks after she struck up a conversation in a coffee shop and dropped her scarf on a person’s phone, before walking away with both items.
Police say they take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to this kind of crime. Magdalena Stanescu, 38, was jailed for eight weeks after she stole a person’s phone by dropping a scarf on it.
Detective Inspector Mark Forster of the City of London Police’s Criminal Investigation Department called for ‘greater vigilance’.
He said: ‘Despite our efforts to help reduce the number of distraction thefts in the City in February 2019, people still need to remain alert and vigilant.
‘It is much easier to lift a small item from a table without the owner realising, such as a mobile phone, than it is to steal a whole bag.
‘Stanescu’s jail sentence shows that we have zero tolerance towards theft in the City and we will do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice.’
City of London Police has issued a warning after almost 30 similar incidents in January – with thieves distracting their victims.
City of London Police says the number of crimes of this type doubled in January this year
There was a spike in January with 28, more than double the number of incidents in both November 2018 and December 2018.
The force reported a 36 per cent decrease in ‘distraction thefts’ after Stanescu was arrested, but claim the risk still stands.
Figures suggest thieves are hitting up pubs and restaurants in central London, and are most likely to ‘strike’ at the weekends.
Victims are usually asked for directions, money, or asked to read a note on their table, before thieves slide away with their valuables.
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