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Pickpockets behind bars following week of action to target theft in London

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Genoveva Petcu

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Eleven people have been charged with theft related offences, and eight other arrests made, following a week of action by British Transport Police to target the Capitals pickpockets. 

The action, under Operation Farrier, saw additional patrols on London’s rail network by plain clothed officers who are experts at detecting and surveying those suspected of pickpocketing. Uniformed teams were also on hand, providing handy advice to passengers on how they can keep their belongings safe from opportunistic thieves.  

Chief Inspector Andy Wright, from British Transport Police, said: “This was an extremely successful week of action, which has resulted in a number of people being charged with attempting to steal items from passengers. This is a vitally important step in our fight against crime on London’s rail network. 

“An equally important part of this week’s action has been educating passengers on how they can keep their belongings safe from pickpockets. This includes keeping valuable items locked in bags, being aware of your surroundings and not leaving items unattended. 

“Each day officers were conducting uniformed patrols at stations, supported by volunteers and partner agencies. I am confident that this operation has sent a clear message that the rail network is a hostile environment for criminality.”  

CI Wright, added: “We’re aware that some of these pickpockets are part of wider organised criminal gangs which operate across Europe. With each arrest we capture valuable intelligence and this helps us in identifying these gangs and how they operate before taking decisive actions to disrupt their criminal network in the Capital.” 

Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing at TfL, said: “We are pleased to see these offenders identified and brought to justice. Our transport network is a safe, low crime environment and we are working with the police to keep it that way. We know that thieves target public transport along with other busy places, which is why we are working with the BTP on operations like this, to target them and disrupt their activity, and give crime prevention advice to our customers. 

“We’d like to remind all customers to keep an eye on their belongings and keep bags and rucksacks closed and report any suspicious behaviour to our staff or the police.”


Those charged, or who have been convicted and sentenced, are: 

1. Nelu Cristi Bohuncanu, aged 25 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ on 13 August and handed a twelve week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft at Westminster Underground station. 

2. Genoveva Petcu, age 47 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ on 13 August and handed an eighteen week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft at Westminster Underground station. (Linked to Bohuncanu). 

3. Nicolae Dragomir, aged 34 from Ilford. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ on 13 August and handed a 12 week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft at Westminster Underground station. 

4. Violeta Petre, age 22 from Redbridge. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 August and handed a 12 week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft on Westminster Bridge. Also ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Relates to an offence on Westminster Bridge. 

5. Beatrice Drugu, aged 22 and of no fixed address.  Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 August and handed a 12 week prison sentence after admitting a charge of attempted theft on Westminster Bridge. Also ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs. (Linked to Petre). 

6. Albena Atanasova, aged 19 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August and handed a 28 day prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge. Relates to an offence outside Leicester Square station.

7. Ivanova Sofiya Yodanova, aged 18 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August and handed a 28 day prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge. Relates to an offence outside Leicester Square station (Linked to Atanasova). 

8. Rozalia Bivolaru, aged 27 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August and handed an 8 week imprisonment after admitting a charge of attempted theft. Relates to an offence at Victoria London Underground station.

9. Beatrice Vaduva, aged 24 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August and handed an 8 week imprisonment after admitting a charge of attempted theft. Relates to an offence at Victoria London Underground station. (Linked to Bivolaru)

10. Elena Nicolae, aged 27 and of no fixed address. Appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August and handed an 8 week imprisonment after admitting a charge of attempted theft. Relates to an offence at Victoria London Underground station. (Linked to Bivolaru)

11. Steve Noel, aged 52 and of Walnut Close, Lewisham, charged with attempted theft and will appear at Blackfriars Crown Court at a later date. Relates to an offence at Tottenham Court Road London Underground station.

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Nelu Bohuncanu

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Elena Nicolae

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Nicolae Dragomir

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Violeta Petre

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Beatrice Drugu

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Rozalia Bivolaru

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Beatrice Vaduva

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