A man who used stolen scooters to rob and steal mobile phones and other valuables has been jailed for four years at Blackfriars Crown Court.
Spencer Duarte, 21 , of Dockerell Road, Stansted, Essex was jailed today, Friday 18 May. He also received four years disqualification from driving and a three year Criminal Behaviour Order which means he will not to be riding a two wheeled vehicle for three years and prevented from using a phone not registered to him.
Duarte first appeared east Central Magistrates Court on Friday, 23 February where he pleaded guilty to: Theft of a scooter, seven counts of theft, using a motor vehicle without insurance and driving whilst disqualified. He was also found to be in breach of his licence and was recalled to prison.
His girlfriend, Jade Clapham, 18, of Tiber Gardens, Islington N1 who assisted him in hiding from police, had pleaded guilty to assisting an offender on 23 February at the same Magistrates’ court.
Clapham will be sentenced on a date in July.
Detective Superintendent Lee Hill said: “This was a fantastic result, which has seen the perpetrator of audacious thefts and robberies using stolen scooters receive a lengthy time in jail. These sentences send out a strong message that such incidents will be dealt with robustly by the Met and the courts.
“Police are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters, mopeds, motorbikes and bicycles and then use them to snatch valuables from members of the public.”
The court heard how Duarte stole a scooter and used it to steal phones. Local police used DNA tagging spray on a number of vehicles which led them to him.
On 1 December 2017, police recovered an abandoned scooter – that was displaying a false number plate – on the Hill Crest Estate in Haringey. The scooter and a helmet – used by Duarte – were examined under ultra-violet light and found to be covered in forensic spray.
On 8 February, Duarte committed a series of theft snatch offences on a scooter registered to his girlfriend. A member of the public who had his phone snatched by Duarte, gave chase and tackled him, causing him to come off his moped. Duarte abandoned the vehicle, and discarded his helmet, clothing and stolen items before making off.
DNA and fingerprint evidence was obtained from the abandoned scooter as well as the helmet and stolen phones left behind.
Police obtained local CCTV footage and launched an investigation to find the suspect – Duarte – who has now stolen property on two separate scooters.
The Operation Venice Investigation Team (VIT), who tackle scooter-related crime, took over the investigation in February and pieced together the chain of offences. They conducted a manhunt which would lead to Duarte’s arrest and conviction.
VIT officers found Duarte on 5 February 2018 at Clapham’s address on Tiber Gardens, hiding in an upstairs bedroom cupboard where they arrested him for theft of a motor vehicle.
As Duarte was being taken away by police, he claimed to be suffering from intense abdominal pain and was taken to hospital. After being discharged, he broke free and escaped.
Following a manhunt, Duarte was located on Thursday, 22 February at a friend’s house on Sturmer Way in Islington. He was arrested for escaping from lawful police custody and taken to a north London police station.
He was charged with 11 offences, including the taking of a motor vehicle; seven counts of theft person; disqualified driving and driving with no insurance before being sentenced as above.