A GANG of four men from Slough have been sentenced for a string of mobile phone thefts committed across eight different counties including Wiltshire.
Madalin Baboi, 18, from Brammas Close; Drona Bujor, 18 from The Crescent; Croidon Bujor, 19, from Pearl Gardens and Lionard Vasille, 21, from Brammas Close, all appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal between January and October 2018.
In total, £87,000 worth of mobile phones were stolen from various locations ranging from Weston-Super-Mare to Swindon, Hull and London.
The police investigation began on April 28, 2018, after three people were seen running from the EE shop in the Old George Mall in Salisbury, having snatched mobile phones from the display.
Three people had been seen getting into a black Audi which was spotted by officers and abandoned in Devizes Road.
Four men ran from the vehicle and, following a foot chase, were arrested.
The stolen phones were located inside the vehicle as well as further stolen phones following thefts reported in Dorset and Sussex.
Further examination of their own mobile phones found evidence that the men had been committing similar offences across the country.
Operation Flex began and this culminated in a series of warrants being executed in Slough in July, where further stolen mobile phones were located.
In total, officers were able to link the four men to 44 offences at various phone shops across the country.
The four men were sentenced as follows:
- Croidon Bujor was sentenced to 18 months in a youth offenders’ institute
- Madalin Baboi was sentenced to 12 months in a youth offenders’ institute
- Droma Bujor was sentenced to 10 months in a youth offenders’ institute
- Lionard Vasile was sentenced to six months suspended for 18 months.
Det Con Mark Welch said: “This was an extremely lengthy and complex investigation – the fact that the group were responsible for so many offences across various counties in the country made it especially complicated and required an extensive amount of partnership working with other police forces.
“Through CCTV analysis and mapping of the personal phones of these four individuals, we were able to identify 44 offences which we could attribute to them.
“The group were brazen in that they committed these crimes during the middle of the day when the shops were full with customers.
“During one incident in Eastleigh, Hampshire, an elderly woman had to be hospitalised after she was knocked over by the gang as they made off with a display table of phones.
“During analysis of the men’s phones, we found multiple photographs of the stolen phones and the cash they pocketed as a result of their actions.
“I hope this case shows the lengths we will go to, to investigate individuals. What may initially appear as a one-off shoplifting incident has, in fact, led to an organised crime group being put before the courts and sentenced for their actions.”