Opportunist thief caught on CCTV stealing phone from Sunderland city shop being renovated

A sneaky burglar’s number was up when he stole a pricey mobile phone when it’s owner’s back was turned during a retail unit renovation.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 7:00 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Law Courts. Picture by FRANK REID.

Ex-jailbird Ian McCabe, 38, walked into Lucky Cat Bobo, a former vape shop in Park Lane, Sunderland, and took the £300 Samsung device – and fled.

The dad struck on Wednesday, April 28, when the owner was at the rear sorting ongoing renovations while the outlet was closed to business.

But CCTV was checked, and McCabe, of Tatham Street, Sunderland city centre, was caught on camera – and was soon arrested.

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Despite his quick detainment by police, the phone was not recovered, leaving his victim out of pocket, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said: “The complainant has recently begun to renovate some premises in Park Lane to move his business.

“He was in the shop doing some renovation, and there was no signage up on the shop.

“He was out at the back of the shop, and he then noticed that his Samsung phone which had been left on the side, was no longer there.

“CCTV showed this male entering and picking up the phone and leaving.

“It was due to CCTV that the defendant was identified as being responsible.

“The phone wasn’t recovered. It was valued at around £300.”

The court heard McCabe was subject to a six-month conditional discharge and had served several prison terms in a lengthy criminal career.

Sophie Cohen, defending, said: “Mr McCabe used to go to that shop, it was a vape shop.

“When he entered the shop, he genuinely thought that he was allowed to go in as a customer. It seems to have been opportunistic.”

The Probation Service told the hearing McCabe was well-known to them from previous offending, including spells behind bars.

They said his latest crime had been committed because “the desire was too much” for McCabe, who pleaded guilty to burglary, to resist.

Magistrates sentenced him to a 12-week community order and a matching 9pm to 7am electronically monitored curfew.

McCabe must also pay his victim £300 compensation.

There were no court costs or victim surcharge.