Moped robbers who stole 72 phones and threatened victim with hammer in six week spree jailed

4 January 2023, 23:05

CCTV shows the pair robbing Londoners during their morning commute
CCTV shows the pair robbing Londoners during their morning commute. Picture: Metropolitan Police

By Will Taylor

Two moped crooks who snatched dozens of mobile phones from the hands of people in London have been jailed.

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Randy Kavungu, 21, and Darius James, 22, brought misery on bystanders as they drove up dangerously and took the devices.

They managed to steal 72 phones during their six-week spree, working as a rider and passenger as they typically targeted lone commuter victims who were on the pavement between 7am and 9am.

They would drive at speed, with the passenger stealing the phone. One victim was threatened with a hammer, one had coffee hurled in her face and another had their finger broken.

Police noticed several of the robberies were concentrated in central and northern boroughs of London and found a black Beverly ST350 was used in the each case.

Kavungu and James had covered the number plate but officers were able to use a combination of patrols, CCTV, witness evidence and communications data to build a profile of the two.

Read more: Man 'snatches £60 dropped by four year old boy during trip to toy shop with his mum' just after Christmas

Police catch moped-riding phone robbers

They eventually arrested them at their homes on July 14 2021.

Detective Inspector Alan Biggs said: "Kavungu and James set out with a pre-agreed plan to steal the phones of as many people as they could, using a moped to target lone victims in open spaces.

"They had no regard for the harm they could have caused by their dangerous driving and it is only by extreme fortune that no-one was more seriously injured.

"We were determined to catch these two suspects who were causing so much harm within our city. Our investigation involved examining hundreds of hours of CCTV as well as complex mobile phone analysis and we are pleased this means they will now be off our streets and unable to commit further offences for a long time."

At Kavungu's home in Islington they found a blue Nike jacket and a black Spada helmet, which were worn during the robberies.

Read more: Remorseless killer who murdered older lover in brutal stabbing after she ended the relationship over age gap jailed for life

Kavungu has been jailed for more than four years
Kavungu has been jailed for more than four years. Picture: Metropolitan Police
James was jailed for his part in the spree
James was jailed for his part in the spree. Picture: Metropolitan Police

A black puffer jacket, which was also worn, was found at James' address in Barnet.

Kavungu and James admitted offences including robbery and threatening with an offensive weapon at Hendon Magistrates' Court on January 3 and were given four and a half years in prison each.

Kavungu admitted three counts of robbery and one count each of attempted robbery, conspiracy to steal and threatening with a hammer.

James admitted two counts of robbery, one count of conspiracy to steal and one count of threatening with a hammer.

The Met said people must call 999 if they see a robbery or if they have just been robbed, adding that the first 24 hours after the crime is crucial to ensuring the perpertrators are brought to justice.

Its Operation Venice specifically targets moped-based robberies.

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