Call me on my cell phone: thief jailed for 12 months for stealing seven mobiles worth £5,000


A prolific phone thief has been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, after being found guilty at Inner London Crown Court of seven theft offences worth over £5000.

Vasile Mihai, 29, of no fixed address, was arrested at Ludgate Hill on Wednesday 23 June 2021 by officers from the City of London Police’s Crime Squad, following multiple thefts using the same tactic.

Mihai used distraction theft techniques such as placing a newspaper over a receptionist’s phone when asking for money, or enquiring about a job before taking the newspaper off the desk with the phone hidden underneath. Mihai targeted a number of business throughout the City of London between March and June 2021 before his arrest.

Temporary Inspector, Caroline Hay from the City of London Police said:

“A custodial sentence is a great result for both our Crime Squad, and officers from our Force Resolution Centre (FRC) who have worked together scrolling through hours of CCTV to get this criminal off of our streets.

“Many of Mihai’s targets had no insurance for their devices, resulting in a substantial cost, as well as the devastation of losing all of their personal data on their phones, such as bank details or irreplaceable photographs.

“As restrictions ease and more people have returned to work in the City, we want criminals to know that our officers will do everything in their power to catch and convict offenders.”

Mihai was also given a criminal behaviour order restricting his possession of mobile phones, laptops and tablets for the next five years.