Pair who lured victims on Shpock and Facebook plead guilty to robbery
A couple who advertised an iPhone online, then mugged a 68-year-old potential buyer, have pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court.
Ben Saunders, (21) from Canada Drive, Cobham, has been jailed for six years.
His girlfriend advertised an Apple iPhone 6S on online marketplace Shpock and on Facebook. A 68-year-old victim offered to buy the phone for his wife, and organised to meet the woman on 7 March at around 11pm at an address in Portsmouth Road, Cobham. The victim couldn’t find the address (as it was the health centre) and so phoned the seller who told him to wait by his car and she’d come and meet him.
As the victim waited patiently, two men appeared. They threatened him with a knife and took his phone and money. As the victim ran away the two men chased him and punched him to the ground. They then ran back to his car and took his sat nav and his car keys.
At Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday Saunders pleaded guilty to robbery. He also pleaded guilty to a series of 20 high value bike thefts (totalling around £10,000) from train stations across north Surrey which had been investigated by the British Transport Police. He was sentenced to four and a half years for the robbery, 12 months for conspiracy to steal bicycles between August 27 and December 19 last year, and six months for breaching a suspended sentence order.
Sentencing for his female accomplice, who pleaded guilty to this robbery and another similar one on 10 March, was adjourned until 13 November to allow for a pre-sentence report.
Police are warning others to be on their guard from similar scams.
DC Sally Michail, who investigated the case, said:
“This was a horrifying attack on a vulnerable gentleman, and it has deeply affected him. In his victim impact statement he tells how his life has changed: how he used to be a happy sociable person, but now he doesn't want to leave the house. I really hope that he will take some comfort from knowing Saunders is behind bars.
“While the people responsible for this crime have been locked up, I’d urge the public to be careful when buying or selling with people you've only met online. In this case Saunders and his accomplice knew how much cash the victim would be carrying to pay for the goods, then arranged to meet him at a time and place where they were in control.
“If you are buying online, I’d urge you to meet in a public place at a time when there will be plenty of people around. Research your payment options and, if possible, pay in advance in a way that legally covers both buyer and seller.”