CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘Cry baby’ thief caught selling stolen phone

Post Office mobile shop man rumbles distraction thief

09 February, 2017 — By William McLennan

Phone-theft victim Jo Siedlecka with Michael Sajdeva

A KENTISH Town woman whose phone was pinched by a “cry baby” conman has praised a quick-thinking store owner who tracked her down and returned the stolen goods within an hour.

Jo Siedlecka was confronted by a sobbing young man who claimed to have been locked out of his house in Leighton Road on Tuesday.

When she offered to lend him £5 to get the bus, he “burst into tears and ­collapsed on my front steps”, she said. “He kept crying and, in the meantime, it started raining and he stood shivering on my doorstep, so I asked him in for a cup of tea.”

After he left her home she realised her iPhone was missing and went tearing after him. “I ran down the road to the address where he said he was living and there was no house there,” said Ms Siedlecka.

Around half-an-hour later, Michael Sajdeva, who runs a phone repair business based in Kentish Town Post Office, called Ms Siedlecka’s landline to say he had recovered her phone.

Mr Sajdeva said: “A guy came in and said he wanted to sell his phone for £60 or £70, so I was suspicious straight away as it was a £400 phone. Then he asked me which phone it was, so I thought, you’re telling me it’s your phone and you don’t even know what it is. I was very suspicious, and he wanted me to delete everything on the phone, so I looked through a few numbers and rang one and asked whose name had come up. Then I looked for Jo’s home phone in the contacts and she told me she’d just had her phone stolen.”

The thief ran off when Mr Sajdeva refused to return the phone until Ms Siedlecka arrived.

“He said he wanted a cigarette outside and he said, ‘you can’t physically hold me as you are not police’. He’d obviously done it before.”

Ms Siedlecka, who described the thief as an Asian man, around 5ft 3ins tall, said she was sure he would have other victims and appealed for them to come forward.

She added: “He’s a pro. He was so good and I was a complete sucker. He had tears streaming down his face. He should be an actor and make better use of his talents. He should join a theatre company. I’ve never seen anyone cry so much. “It would be interesting to know if other ­people have met him.”

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