Trio convicted after off-duty officers help to foil £20,000 mobile phone theft
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Three people have been sentenced after they were caught attempting to steal £20,000 worth of mobile phones from a supermarket.
The trio entered Tesco in Jane Murray Way, Burgess Hill, on the afternoon of 17 May and started to rip the devices from display.
Their actions caught the attention of staff, customers and three off-duty police officers, who quickly responded to detain the suspects and recover the phones. A number of people were assaulted in the process.
The three defendants were subsequently arrested and charged with attempted robbery, and all pleaded guilty.
Valetin Bocan (pictured), 24, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and appeared before Lewes Crown Court on 8 September, where he was sentenced to 23 months’ imprisonment.
Mario Ilie, 18, of Saint Awdrys Road, Barking, was sentenced to 22 months – suspended for 24 months – at an earlier hearing and a 16-year-old boy from Ilford, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was referred to a youth offender panel.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Stuart MacPherson said: “This was a brazen act of attempted robbery, committed in a busy supermarket in broad daylight.
“The defendants seemingly had no concern for the consequences of their actions, and it is only thanks to the quick-thinking staff, customers and off-duty officers that they were detained and a significant loss was prevented.”