Gangs target Chiswick diners

Chiswick police are urging people to be on their guard following an increase in mobile phone related crime on the High Road

Gangs, believed to be from Eastern Europe, are targeting diners in local cafes and restaurants. The gang members are usually younger males who enter restaurants and try to distract mobile phone owners by a ruse such as asking for money for food or directions on a tube-map. The tube map is often used as a cover for an accomplice to steal a mobile phone left on a table.

This sort of crime seems to occur most often to people sitting near the window of a restaurant as the criminals see the phone placed on the table as they pass by. Incidents have been reported at MacDonalds (where staff say it is a regular occurence), Pizza Express, Cafe Rouge and Caffe Uno.

Police are advising residents not to leave your mobiles in plain view on restaurant and cafe tables.

A crime prevention officer from Chiswick Police station said, "There has recently been an increase in snatches of mobile phones and handbags. People should take care not to walk and use their mobile at the same time. "

They advise you to be vigilant when using mobile phones in the area as there have been a couple of cases in which white teenage boys on bikes have cycled past people using mobiles & snatched them away.

January 23, 2003

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