A thief who “hunted” the streets of Fulham looking for victims has been jailed for 12 months.
George William O’Hare cycled by victims and snatched mobile phones from their hands during a 10-day crime spree in February. Four of the five thefts occurred on Fulham Road.
The 26-year-old, from Cleverly Estates, in Wormholt Road, White City, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft from the person at an earlier hearing at Isleworth Crown Court, and was sentenced at the same court on Tuesday (April 14).
His loot, which was never recovered, totalled £3,500.
O’Hare was staying with a friend at a flat in Fulham, which he used as a base to carry out his crime spree, the court heard.
The first offence happened on February 16, at around midday. A 35-year-old woman was using her phone while walking along Holmead Road, Fulham, when she saw a cyclist go past.
A few moments later the same cyclist approached her from behind, snatched her phone and sped off, the court was told.
On February 19, at around midday again, O’Hare cycled up behind a 28-year-old woman as she walked along Fulham Road, near Stamford Bridge football stadium, and snatched her phone.
Two days later, O’Hare struck at around 9.45am, once more on the Fulham Road. This time the victim was a 28-year-old man who had just stopped to send a text message. The victim gave chase, but O’Hare managed to speed off on his bicycle, the court heard.
He was at it again on February 24, striking at 7.15pm. The victim, a 24-year-old doctor, was walking along Fulham Road when O’Hare struck.
The last offence happened again on Fulham Road, near Stamford Bridge, at 7pm on February 26. The victim was a 36-year-old.
Hammersmith & Fulham Police investigated the thefts and studied CCTV images.
In it, O’Hare could be clearly seen circling, before selecting his victims. When he identified a possible target he would follow them, looking for the opportunity to strike.
Detectives were able to link enough CCTV to track O’Hare back to the flat in Fulham. After viewing this and other CCTV footage he was arrested on March 16.
He initially denied the crimes but was picked out by one of his victims at an identity parade.
PC Marc Kibbey, of Hammersmith & Fulham Crime Squad, said: “The work to bring O’Hare to justice was painstaking. During the course of this investigation I reviewed hours of CCTV and would watch as O’Hare circled, selected and then hunted his victims.
“This man was a criminal predator and the CCTV images show the calculated nature of his crimes.”
In addition to the prison sentence, the court imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order banning O’Hare from carrying more than one mobile phone for five years.