HARLOW: Phone robber makes life easy for police
4:18pm Tuesday 28th October 2008 in Where I Live
A DIM-witted robber came a cropper after handing over his mobile phone and contact details to his victim, leading to his arrest just hours later.
Eneas Tanyongana, 21, of Risdens, Harlow, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at St Albans Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.
The court heard that Tanyongana threatened and robbed a 16-year old boy who was on a train between Ware and Rye House Station, in Hertfordshire, in March.
He approached the boy at 10pm on Sunday March 16, and threatened to stab him if he did not hand over his mobile phone.
Speaking outside court, Detective Constable Jon Pine, of British Transport Police’s Robbery Squad, said: “The boy was obviously very scared and handed over the phone without argument."
He added that what happened next stunned police officers.
“When the boy asked what he was supposed to do without a phone Tanyongana decided to hand over his own phone, complete with contact details and photos. It’s a nice boost to the investigation when key pieces of the puzzle have already been laid out for you.
“A police search team recovered the victim’s phone from on top of his wardrobe as well as the clothes he wore during the robbery. Using CCTV we were also able to link him to two other robberies.”
Officers reviewed CCTV footage from the train and arrested him at his home later the same day.
They were also able to link Tanyongana to two further incidents, including an attempted robbery of a disabled man in May last year between Hertford East and Ware in which the victim was grabbed by the throat after he refused to hand over his mobile.
He was also identified as being responsible for a second offence which took place on a train between Broxbourne and Harlow Town in January. Tanyongana attempted to befriend his victim, a 13-year-old boy, by engaging him in casual conversation about his phone. The victim handed his phone over to Tanyongana to look at, but when he asked for it back he was told, “No. You’ve been robbed.”
DC Pine added: “It was a combination of Tanyongana’s own stupidity and good police work that led to him being arrested just hours after the offence.”
Tanyongana had already pleaded guilty to another charge of robbery previously and was sentenced on all three counts.