26 year old George William O’Hare from the Cleverly Estate in Wormholt Road has been jailed for a year at Isleworth Crown Court for ‘hunting’ mobile phones to snatch in Fulham.
The court also banned him from carrying more than one mobile phone for five years by imposing a Criminal Behaviour Order.
O’Hare pleaded guilty to five theft offences.
The court heard how over a 10-day period in February he would set out on his bicycle ‘hunting’ his victims.
O’Hare was staying with a friend at a flat in Fulham and used this as a base to carry out his crime spree.
The smartphone snatches
- The first offence happened on Monday, 16th February at around midday. A 35-year-old woman was using her phone while walking along Holmead Road, Fulham when she saw a cyclist go past. A few moments later the same cyclist approached her from behind, grabbed her phone and then sped off. The thief was identified as O’Hare and this was the first in a series of snatches.
- On Thursday, 19th February, again at 12 noon, a 28-year-old woman was walking along Fulham Road, near Chelsea Football stadium. O’Hare cycled up behind her and snatched the phone she was using.
- Two days later, O’Hare struck at around 9.46 am, once more on the Fulham Road. This time the victim was a 28-year-old man who had just stopped to send a text message. O’Hare snatched his phone as he was using it. The victim gave chase, but O’Hare managed to speed off on his bicycle.
- On Tuesday, 24th February at about 7.15 pm, the victim, a 24-year-old doctor, was walking along Fulham Road. He was holding his phone, when again O’Hare rode up from behind and snatched it.
- The last offence happened on Thursday, 26th February at 5 pm; again the location was Fulham Road close to Chelsea Football Club. A 36-year-old man was using his phone to check for train times. O’Hare cycled up behind the victim, snatched his phone and pedalled off.
Detectives from Hammersmith and Fulham studied hours of CCTV and began linking the footage together.
O’Hare can be clearly seen circling, before selecting his victims. When he identified a possible target he would follow them, looking for the opportunity to strike. The crimes were committed in moments, leaving the victims with little chance to react.
Detectives were able to link enough CCTV to track O’Hare back to the flats he was using as a base for his crimes. CCTV showed him setting off on his bike and returning after the thefts; the images were clear enough for police to identify O’Hare.
Detectives were able to find the distinctive bike he had used and the clothing he’d worn.
One of his victims picked him out at an identity parade.
The total value of the phones taken was about £3,500.
None of the phones were ever recovered.
PC Marc Kibbey, of the Hammersmith & Fulham Crime Squad, said:
The work to bring O’Hare to justice was painstaking. During the course of this investigation I reviewed hours of CCTV and would watch as O’Hare circled, selected and then hunted his victims. This man was a criminal predator and the CCTV images show the calculated nature of his crimes.
This case also shows how quickly someone can become the victim of crime. I would ask those who are using their phone not to become distracted, you will always be safer if you remain aware of your surroundings.