"Criminal Predator" Who Stalked Victims in Fulham Sent to Jail

Shepherd's Bush resident George O'Hare sentenced for snatching phones

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A Shepherd's Bush man who hunted victims in Fulham to steal their mobile phones has been sent to jail.

George William O'Hare, 26 of Cleverly Estate, Wormholt Road, W12 was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday, April 14.

In addition, the court imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order that bans O'Hare from carrying more than one mobile phone for five years.

O'Hare had pleaded guilty to five offences of theft from the person at an earlier hearing at the same court. 

The court heard how over a ten day period in February, O'Hare would set out on his bicycle looking for new victims. 

O'Hare was staying with a friend at a flat in Fulham and he used this as a base to carry out his crime spree. 

The first offence happened on Monday, February 16 at around midday. Police say that a 35 year-old woman was using her phone while walking along Holmead Road when she saw a cyclist go past. 

A few moments later the same cyclist approached her from behind, snatched her phone and then sped off. The thief was identified as O'Hare and this was the first in a series of snatches.

On Thursday, February 19, also at midday, a 28 year-old woman was walking along Fulham Road, near Chelsea Football stadium. O'Hare cycled up behind her and snatched the phone she was using. 

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. O'Hare snatched his phone as he was using it. The victim gave chase, but O'Hare managed to speed off on his bicycle.

On Tuesday, February 24 at about 7.15pm, the victim, a 24 year-old doctor, was walking along Fulham Road holding his phone, when O'Hare rode up from behind and snatched it.

The final offence happened on Thursday, February 26 at 5pm - once again on Fulham Road close to Chelsea Football Club. A 36 year-old man was using his phone to check for train times when O'Hare cycled up behind him, snatched his phone and pedalled off. 

Police say that as a result of the crimes, detectives from Hammersmith and Fulham began a detailed investigation. The team studied hours of CCTV and began linking the footage together.

In the footage O'Hare can be clearly seen circling, before selecting his victims. When he identified a possible target he would follow them, looking for the opportunity to strike. The crimes were committed in moments, leaving the victims with little chance to react.

Detectives were able to link enough CCTV to track O'Hare back to the flats he was using as a base for his crimes. CCTV showed him setting off on his bike and returning after the thefts; the images were clear enough for police to identify him.

Hammersmith and Fulham detectives arrested O'Hare on Monday, March 16. 

They were able to find the distinctive bike he had used in the course of the thefts and also the clothing he had worn while committing the offences. O'Hare denied the crimes, but one of the victims was able to pick him out at an identity parade.

O'Hare was charged with five counts of theft from the person. In the series of robberies phones with a value of approximately £3,500 were stolen - none of the phones were ever recovered.

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.

"This case also shows how quickly someone can become the victim of crime. I would ask those who are using their phone not to become distracted, you will always be safer if you remain aware of your surroundings."

 

April 15, 2015