A criminal who prowled the streets of Hayes, attacking lone women for their jewellery, will be sentenced tomorrow, Thursday 18 December, at Isleworth Crown Court.
Ralf Dautzenberg, of Lawrence Street, Canning Town, admitted 11 counts of robbery and one count of theft on Wednesday, November 19. He is due to be sentenced on Thursday, December 18.
The offences occurred between January and June 2014, on women aged between 27 and 72.
Dautzenberg targeted Asian women for their gold necklaces. His haul is believed to be worth £20,000.
Dautzenberg was arrested in Hayes on Thursday, June 5, after a police officer on patrol spotted him. Dautzenberg’s image had been circulated to officers just that day.
His arrest followed an investigation started by detectives of Hillingdon Crime Squad in February, when it became apparent that a number linked ‘snatch’ robberies were being committed by a man of the same description.
On all occasions he concealed his face using a scarf and wore a hooded top.
Each time, victims were approached from behind, their neck was grabbed and their jewellery ripped from them. Dautzenberg resorted to violence on several occasions, punching his victim to the head to bring them down to the pavement.
Detectives carried out hundreds of hours of CCTV searches, specifically looking at footage taken on public transport and street cameras.
They found how Dautzenberg would rely on public transport to select a victim. He would sit on a bus or train sizing up the woman and jewellery she was wearing, before following them on foot and attacking them a short time after.
After he was arrested, Dautzenberg’s then home, in Hayes, was searched.
Officers seized his mobile phone which held a number of images directly linking him to the crimes. Photos were found of him gloating and showing off the cash proceeds of his crimes he’d obtained from after selling the stolen jewellery. These photograph were later used as evidence at court.
Despite a thorough search of his home, only one necklace was recovered and returned to its rightful owner.
Later in interviews, Dautzenberg claimed to police that he had sold every other piece of jewellery, hours after the crime, to cash buyers.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Barry Wilcock, said: “Dautzenberg went to great lengths to identify and target vulnerable and innocent members of the public, and avoid police detection by removing or changing his clothing immediately after offending as he fled the scene.
“It became clear that the violence he was using was escalating, with defenceless elderly victims being punched in the face for their jewellery.
“Every resource available to us was utilised, from forensic opportunities to intelligence and covert operations. Had it not been for the sheer tenacity demonstrated in the pursuit and detention of Dautzenberg, I am in no doubt that Dautzenberg would have gone on to cause significant and possibly life changing injuries to innocent and unsuspecting members of the public.”
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Turner said: “In total, Hillingdon CID investigated 25 individual offences of street robbery linked solely to Dautzenberg. This crime series came to a complete halt following his arrest and apprehension.
“Every victim has undergone a horrific ordeal at the hands of Dautzenberg which will never be forgotten, and I hope that today’s sentence will bring some closure and reassurance that this opportunist attacker is now behind bars.”
One victim, who wishes to remain anonymous said: “This person made me vulnerable. This crime made me feel scared in my home.
“I wake at night having nightmares and images with flashbacks of what he did, I feel scared to walk on my own anywhere as he robbed me on the main road 11am.
“I came back to my sister’s after the incident hysterically shaking and crying, in front of my two young children. My eldest is six and has never seen me like that. She still remembers and asks questions about the incident, and why he wanted to hurt me.
“My life has changed and his actions leave me sleepless at night. My necklace was given to me by my grandmother to bring me luck. She lives in India and I may not see her again.
“I’m happy that he’s caught as I would not like anyone to have to go through this or feel so vulnerable and scared.”
TIMELINE OF CRIME
Where and when prolific street robber Ralf Dautzenberg struck – and what he took
Wednesday, February 26, St Anselms Road, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £200
Thursday, March 6, Gordon Crescent, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £700
Wednesday, March 26, East Holme, Hayes. Gold chain – value unknown
Wednesday, April 16, Hayes End Recreation Ground, Wood End Green Road. Gold chain valued at £1,700
Thursday, April 17, Nestles Avenue, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £600
Friday, April 18, Church Road, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £1,200
Thursday, May 8, Park Road, Hayes. Gold chain – value unknown
Thursday, May 8, Scotts Road, Southall. Gold chain valued at £700
Monday, May 19, Granville Road, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £250
Thursday, May 29, Dallas Terrace, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £700
Friday, May 30, Crowland Avenue, Hayes. Gold chain valued at £700
Thursday, June 5, North Hyde Road, Hayes. Oyster card.
Thursday, June 5. Arrested.