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Pick-pocketing gang sentenced - Westminster, London

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Romeo Haret

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A pick-pocketing gang has been sentenced for conspiracy to steal after they were caught targeting tourists in Westminster by undercover BTP officers.

Romeo Haret, aged 25, of Valence Circus, Dagenham, was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment.

Loredana Pantica, aged 21, of Longmead Road, Burton Upon Trent and Florintina Pantica, aged 18, of Longmead Road, Burton Upon Trent, were also found guilty of conspiracy to steal and were each sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work.

They were all sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday 3 October.

On 4 September this year, plain clothes police officers were on patrol at Westminster underground station when they saw Haret, Pantica and Pantica identifying and targeting potential victims.

The gang positioned themselves at the top of the stairs and followed a mother and daughter from Westminster station onto Westminster Bridge. Officers saw the trio move unnecessarily closely behind the victim and Pantica used a scarf to hide her hand, reach out, open the victim’s rucksack and put her hand inside.

Officers approached and detained all three of them.

Investigating officer, PC Steven Bryan, said: “The sentence handed to all three offenders shows that the courts take this kind of offence very seriously.”

There are more crime prevention tips on the BTP website.

 DON'T BE A VICTIM OF PICKPOCKETS

  • Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket.
  • Zip up hand and shoulder bags.
  • Carry bags in front of you with flaps against your body.
  • Keep straps short and bags tucked under your arm.
  • Don't display jewellery.
  • Don't show your money — keep it safely in your pocket.

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