Friday 12 July 2024
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Nottingham

Phone thief takes £2,500 from student’s bank accounts

An opportunist thief who drained a student’s bank accounts after finding her phone was caught thanks to a determined effort by police.

The student was on a night out in Nottingham city centre when she realised her phone was no longer in her back pocket.

When she checked her bank balances, £2,452 had been transferred out of her accounts – leaving her with just 17p.

A police investigation spanning several months led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man from Leicester.

Following the arrest, the suspect admitted to finding the student’s phone inside a nightclub along with her student ID, which included her date of birth.

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To unlock the iPhone, he told officers he tried entering the date of birth as the passcode and it worked.

He then admitted accessing the student’s mobile banking app and transferring £2,452 out of her accounts – which he said he then used to pay his own rent bills and university fees.

He told officers he was deeply sorry and that he committed the crime because he was struggling financially.

Officers updated the victim, who by now had been reimbursed by her banks.

The thief offered to pay her £1,000 compensation and to apologise for the distress he had caused her following the incident in February.

The victim accepted this offer and so the thief – who had no previous convictions – received a conditional caution, in which he must comply with actions set out by Nottinghamshire Police’s Out of Court Disposal Team.

If he fails to comply with those conditions, which include paying the agreed compensation, he can be prosecuted for the offences.

PC Ryan Prince, who is based at Central Police Station in the city centre, led the investigation. He said:

“This was a distressing ordeal for the victim and I am pleased we were able to locate and arrest the person responsible.

“He has expressed deep remorse for his actions and I am pleased he has apologised to his victim and agreed to pay her compensation.

“This was the first time this young offender has been arrested and experienced custody. He didn’t like it and whether it happens again is now entirely up to him. 

“Certainly this case shows that if you do commit an offence we will do everything in our power to find you.

“Finally, I would encourage people to make it difficult for criminals to steal your belongings by making sure your possessions are secure at all times.  

“It is also important to ensure your devices are protected with strong passwords or passcodes in case they do end up in the wrong hands.”

•  Warning after string of mobile phone thefts in Nottingham city centre

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