Mystery woman's quick thinking helps put Kidderminster raiders behind bars (From Kidderminster Shuttle)
Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting KS NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Mystery woman's quick thinking helps put Kidderminster raiders behind bars
7:10am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in Local
A QUICK-thinking shopper has been thanked by a judge for helping put three robbers who raided a Kidderminster phone shop behind bars.
The men burst into the O2 store in Kidderminster’s High Street and ripped £5,000 worth of display phones from one of the counters, threatening staff before making their escape in a hired car.
One woman - who never gave her name to police - thought to note down the number plate, meaning officers were able to catch the crooks within minutes.
Judge Patrick Thomas QC yesterday paid tribute to the mystery woman at Worcester Crown Court as he sentenced the trio to a total of seven years and three months in prison.
"If I knew who she was I would give her some money but, sadly, I can't," he said. "Whoever you are, madam - we thank you. If it had not been for her these men would probably not have been caught."
Prosecutor Ian Bell told the court that three members of staff and five or six customers had been in the store when the men burst through the doors, at around 5.15pm on March 20.
They ran straight to the display counter and began ripping the phones from the security chains and when one brave member of staff approached them, one of the men pointed at her and shouted: "Just get back."
Judge Thomas said this implied a physical threat and that their knowledge of the store layout suggested they had visited the store before the robbery.
The whole incident lasted just 20 seconds but, thanks to the unknown woman, they were caught with the haul of phones just 10 minutes later.
Leonard Olagbaju, Samir Barlow and Kye Warner had all pleaded guilty to robbery at previous hearings.
Olagbaju, 21, of Cygnet Way, Middlesex; and Warner, 22, of Midhurst Gardens, Uxbridge, were both sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Barlow, 22, also of Cygnet Way, Middlesex, was sentenced to two years and three months after Adam Western, defending, argued he was the first to admit to the crime and had spurred the others to do the same.
The court heard that all three men had a string of previous convictions for similar offences, including shoplifting, theft and the type of theft known as “steaming” - barging into a shop or store and stealing items before running out.
"It is a shocking event," Judge Thomas told them. "You had come to this part of the world, to Kidderminster, in order to carry out an offence, in the hope that being off your own turf would make being caught less likely.
"You may even have thought that out here, in the sticks, people are less alert and less wary of this kind of offence that you had in mind, which was to frighten people into standing by while you carried out a form of shoplifting.
"One anonymous member of the public, whom the court genuinely thanks for her alertness and good sense, told police the number plate of the car and you were picked up."
He added that he hoped the sentence would encourage them all to change their ways.