The unnerving CCTV footage from London shows a brazen café thief pretending to be a beggar before she snatches the victim’s mobile phone and skips down the street
Shocking footage shows the moment a woman who was pretending to be homeless snatched a man’s phone in a coffee shop.
In the CCTV clip from a café in North Finchley, London, the criminal can be seen using a sly technique to distract the unwitting man before making off with his device. She approaches the victim at his table, where she begins chatting to him and places a piece of paper directly in front of him on top of his mobile phone.
The unnamed woman, dressed in a grey jacket, then holds his attention for around 12 seconds as she manoeuvres her hand underneath the sheet to grab the phone. After sliding the device away and picking up the paper, the thief even sticks around for a few seconds while the person sat opposite the victim gives her some spare change.
Neither of the people sat at the table seem to figure out what has just happened until it’s too late, and the end of the video shows the thief skipping away down the street after leaving the café. The thief had an accomplice with her at the time, reported the Mail Online, and was seen getting into a waiting car outside a few moments after the incident at 1:50pm on Friday, January 26.
The brazen crime has drawn a worried response on social media, as a number of people living in the area and across London said they had experienced similar. One woman said these kind of thefts had even made her more reluctant to give to strangers, writing: “This is why I don’t help people anymore like this. I just say no, move away.” Another person added: “This better not happen to me.”
The Mirror has approached the Metropolitan Police for comment. Nearly 70% of all thefts in London in 2022 were related to mobile phones, according to official figures, with many of them taken by criminals from pockets, bags, or from pub tables. A total of 57,174 phones were stolen in London in the 12 months to last August, equivalent to 250 a day.