Dramatic moment police capture London e-bike mugger who stole 24 phones in one morning

Dramatic footage has revealed the moment police captured a prolific mugger who stole 24 mobile phones on an e-bike in one morning.

Sonny Stringer, 28, and an unknown accomplice reached speeds of up to 50mph as they raced down busy streets in the heart of London, narrowly missing bystanders.

Police used CCTV to track their route as they fled on Surron electric bikes after they snatched an iPhone 15 from a woman’s hand on Blackfriars Bridge.

CCTV footage of the chase reveals the moment Stringer, dressed in black, veered past a bus before he was intercepted by police in a tactical manouevre, coming off his bike.

He tried to make off on foot but was captured by police and was seen kneeling down and holding up his hands as an officer drew their taser. His accomplice fled and has not yet been caught.

Stringer, from Islington, yesterday admitted nine counts of theft as well as dangerous driving and driving without insurance at Isleworth Crown Court. He denied one further count of robbery, but admitted to an alternative charge of theft.

Sonny Stringer, 28, admitted ten counts of theft – covering 24 phones (City of London Police)
Sonny Stringer, 28, admitted ten counts of theft – covering 24 phones (City of London Police)

Most of the thefts took place in a one-hour spree which started on Baker Street at 10.15am and ended with the mugging on Blackfriars Bridge at 11.15am, City of London Police said.

When he was caught he threw a faraday bag containing 22 phones on the floor, having already dropped two other phones when he came off his bike.

Control Officer Lynn Newins, who was working the City of London Police control room during the incident on 26 March, described how she tracked the suspects on their CCTV cameras.

She said: “I quickly started relaying information to officers on the ground. In the control room we can manage the position of the cameras ourselves which is very useful and speeds up our ability to track criminals.

“We spun the cameras around on Cheapside and updated officers on the phone snatchers’ path. I remember saying that they were ‘going like the clappers’ and could see members of the public having to avoid being hit by them.

“When we saw that officers had apprehended one of the suspects it was a huge sense of achievement for all those involved. Working in control you sometimes don’t hear about the success stories as they tend to happen later, so to be a part of it and see that they recovered so many phones was a big win.”

She said mobile phone theft is “devastating” to victims.

“People have their worlds on their phones and it isn’t a minor crime to them,” she added.

“I spoke to one of the victims who called to say we had their phone. It was nice to know that we played a role in getting it back to them.”

CCTV captured the moment City of London Police captured mobile phone thief Sonny Stringer, 28 (City of London Police)
CCTV captured the moment City of London Police captured mobile phone thief Sonny Stringer, 28 (City of London Police)

Road police officers PC Jordan Smith and PC Joe Little were driving towards the oncoming phone snatchers when they made the decision to make ‘tactical contact’ on the rear wheel of Stringer’s bike.

CCTV released today shows that Stringer was about to mount the pavement into the direction of a family pushing a buggy.

The tactical manoeuvre was reviewed and deemed to be proportionate and responsible to avoid serious injury to members of the public and effect arrest.

Chief Superintendent Rob Atkin MBE said: “The successful capture and prosecution of a prolific phone snatcher shows City of London Police’s focus on detecting and bringing to justice those who steal from people on our streets.

“This was a team effort from our control team following the criminals on CCTV and communicating with officers on the ground, to response officers making risk-critical decisions to protect the public and effect an arrest. Not forgetting our investigators tracking down victims from across London, returning valuable mobile phones and ensuring a guilty verdict.

“Phone snatching has a significant impact on victims and our key priority has been to reduce the number of phones stolen and relentlessly target those criminals responsible.”

Stringer, who is subject to an interim driving ban, is due to be sentenced on 8 August.