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“Keep it out of sight”. That is the advice from a businessman
who had his iPhone 4 stolen from in front of him in a coffee shop
on High Holborn earlier this year.
Now, after City officers recovered his phone and the men who
stole it have been convicted, Simon Evans is speaking out to help
others keep their belongings safe.
He said: “I was sitting at the bench by the window reading the
paper. I’d just finished a phone call and put the phone down next
“The next thing I knew this guy appeared across my right
shoulder, he held a newspaper, pointing at something. I looked at
the newspaper and the strange thing about it was it was upside
down. He was saying something indecipherable in my ear.
“Then, another man appeared over my left shoulder, asking for
directions, but I couldn’t understand him either.
“I said ‘go away’. The next thing I knew, the first guy had gone
out the door.
“I looked down where my phone was and it was gone.
“I now know he put the newspaper over my phone to steal it.
“If it hadn’t been seen on the counter I think these guys would
have walked straight past. Instead they saw it and decided they’ll
have a go at this one.”
Simon followed the thieves out of the coffee shop and confronted
them on the street but to no avail.
On returning to the coffee shop, its manager had reported the
theft to City of London Police, and officers arrived shortly after.
Simon provided them with a description of the thieves, which, in
turn, they broadcast to other officers in the area.
Moments later the policeman taking Simon’s statement heard on
his radio that officers had stopped suspects at Temple underground
Simon said: “I was told one of the men who’d been stopped had an
iPhone in his pocket, so the officer taking my statement asked me
for my number so he could phone it and obviously, it rang.
“It was great. Within an hour I had my phone back, I couldn’t
The officers who identified the suspects were part of a policing
team dedicated to reducing thefts of handbags, laptops, mobile
phones and wallets in the City following a rise in thefts since
Two men arrested on suspicion of theft were later charged. On
appearing at City of London Magistrates’ Court, Maradonna
Constantin, 21, and Stefan Mitae,18, both from Ilford, were
convicted of the theft and both received a 12-week prison sentence
suspended for 12 months. Constantin was also ordered to undertake
60 hours unpaid work while Mitae must carry out 100