Moped thieves stole 72 phones in London robberies

Two men who used a moped to carry out 72 mobile phones snatches in just six weeks have been jailed.

Randy Kavungu, 21 (17.04.01) of Union Square, Islington and Darius James, 22 (30.10.00) of Old Farm Road, Barnet were identified and brought to justice by specially trained officers from the Met’s Operation Venice team.

Kavungu and James both pleaded guilty at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 3 January to offences including robbery and threatening with an offensive weapon and were sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment each.

Detective Inspector Alan Biggs, from Operation Venice, said: “Kavungu and James set out with a pre-agreed plan to steal the phones of as many people as they could, using a moped to target lone victims in open spaces.

“They had no regard for the harm they could have caused by their dangerous driving and it is only by extreme fortune that no-one was more seriously injured.

“We were determined to catch these two suspects who were causing so much harm within our city. Our investigation involved examining hundreds of hours of CCTV as well as complex mobile phone analysis and we are pleased this means they will now be off our streets and unable to commit further offences for a long time.”


Between Monday, 24 May and Wednesday, 30 June 2021 officers became aware of a spate of moped-enabled robberies and phone snatch thefts committed primarily in central and north London boroughs.

The suspects – a rider and a pillion passenger – typically struck between 07:00hrs and 09:00hrs and targeted lone morning commuters using their phones while walking or standing on pavements.

They would then ride the moped towards them from behind at speed, with the passenger grabbing the phone while the driver rode off.

On one occasion, a victim had coffee thrown in their face while another had their finger broken during the robbery. The defendants also admitted to threatening a witness with a hammer following one of the incidents.

Their investigation revealed that the same moped – a black Beverly ST350 – was used in all the robberies.

The thieves would cover the number plate before carrying out the thefts meaning there was no simple way to link the bike and the suspects. Officers therefore used overt police patrols, CCTV, witness testimony and other communications data to build a profile of the two offenders.

On 14 July 2021, warrants were executed at the home addresses of Kavungu and James. Both were arrested and taken into custody.


At Kavungu’s address, officers found a blue Nike jacket and a black Spada helmet, the same as those seen worn in CCTV of the incidents. A black puffer jacket, also worn by one of the suspects on various days, was found at James’ address.

With the pair in custody, officers continued to gather the evidence that proved beyond doubt they were responsible for the offences.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Hill, Head of the Violent Crime Taskforce, said:“Tackling violent crime in all its forms is our top priority and we are targeting robbers who fuel violent crime in London. We know every robbery has an impact on the victim and increases fear and concern within our communities.

“Our Operation Venice team was set up in direct response to a spike in moped-enabled robberies and as this case demonstrates, they have been working ever since to target repeat offenders and linked series of offending across the capital.

“The team have a unique insight into offending patterns and the way these gangs operate which assists our uniformed officers conducting patrols in hotspot locations. This means they can be in the right place at the right time more often to prevent further offences and hopefully catch those intent on committing crime in the act.”

If you see a robbery taking place, or have just been robbed, call 999 immediately.

Our advice is to:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to who is around you
  • Keep valuables such as mobile phones, watches and cash out of sight
  • Plan your route home
  • More advice can be found on our website

The first 24 hours after a robbery is vital for police. We want to encourage victims to report robberies as soon as they take place to ensure that we can bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly.

Breakdown of convictions:

Kavungu pleaded guilty to:

3 x robbery
1 x attempted robbery
1 x conspiracy to steal
1 x threatening with an offensive weapon in a public place (hammer)

James pleaded guilty to:

1 x conspiracy to steal
2 x robbery
1 x threatening with an offensive weapon in a public place (hammer)

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *