Clueless hooded thieves from Newham were trapped by their Oyster cards
Two bungling street robbers were caught out after they tried to make a getaway on a bus using Oyster cards registered to their home addresses in Newham, a court heard.
Juan Bustillos, 20 and Sergio Morales-Martinez, 18, were part of a hooded gang who targeted tourists and lone City workers in a spree of linked attacks in London’s Square Mile.
After snatching a wallet, rucksack and mobile phone from one victim, the pair hopped onto a No 25 bus to make their escape, tapping in using their Oyster cards.
But the travel passes had been registered in both men’s names and were linked to their home addresses, where police arrested them the next day.
Bustillos, of Khartoum Road, Plaistow; Morales-Martinez, of Sandford Close, and Carlos Castro, 18, of Nelson Street, both East Ham, admitted robbery and attempted robbery at the Old Bailey.
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Castro also admitted taking part in a further offence during the gang’s 20-minute spree, in which a camera was snatched from a female victim taking pictures outside Liverpool Street station.
He was linked to the spree after a wallet stolen earlier that day was dropped as he ran off with the woman’s property.
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The judge, Miss Recorder Sally O’Neill QC, jailed each of the trio for four years.
She told them: ‘These offences were cowardly, violent and deeply distressing to the unfortunate victims who happened to be in your paths that evening.’
The trio began their campaign by targeting Swedish tourist Miriam Wilhelm as she waited to cross the road at Aldgate in the City last February 4.
One attacker grabbed her scarf before the other two surrounded her. They fled empty-handed after she screamed out in distress and attracted the attention of a passer-by, but punched the victim in the stomach and face before making off.
A second victim, Sultan Mahmood, was attacked just yards away in St Botolph Street around five minutes later.
He was pushed over a wall before the three showered his face and back with blows and frisked him for loot.
They made off with his wallet, rucksack and mobile phone, hopping onto an east London-bound No 25 bus in a bid to make a getaway with the victim in hot pursuit.
‘He said to the driver, ‘Those three boys just robbed me, they’re on this bus’,’ said prosecutor Richard Hearnden.
‘At which point the three exited through the middle doors and ran off.”
He added: ‘Two of the defendants, Bustillos and Morales-Martinez, had used Oyster cards to get on the 25 bus.
‘These were registered and CCTV from the bus was able to identify the men and the address of the robbers who had committed the offence.’
Around 15 minutes later, Castro snatched a camera from Breanna Angell in Bishopsgate.
Castro was caught when he phoned the police to ask about the welfare of Bustillos and Morales-Martinez after they were arrested.
Detectives had already linked the crimes because Mr Mahmood’s wallet was found at the scene of the camera theft.
Bustillos, Morales-Martinez, and Castro, admitted robbery and attempted robbery. Castro also admitted theft in relation to the camera snatch.