A CCTV footage released by the City of London Police shows how brazen thieves steal bags from restaurant customers in broad daylight. The video is part of a campaign to raise awareness and prevent bag thefts in the city.
The bag snatcher
The footage shows a man walking casually along the Bloomberg Arcade in the City of London, a popular dining spot with several restaurants and cafes. He spots a woman sitting at a table outside a restaurant, with her bag hanging on the back of her chair. He approaches her from behind, grabs her bag, and walks away swiftly. The woman does not notice anything until it is too late.
The man is identified as Christopher Antoine, 44, who pleaded guilty to 18 bag thefts over a 10-month period between June 2022 and March 2023. He targeted mostly women who left their bags unattended or out of sight while dining or shopping. He stole items such as laptops, phones, wallets, and passports, worth thousands of pounds.
Antoine was sentenced to three years and four months in prison at the Old Bailey on June 15, 2023.
The police campaign
The City of London Police launched a campaign called ‘Know where your bag is at all times’ to warn the public about the risk of bag thefts and to offer some tips to prevent them. The campaign includes posters, leaflets, and social media posts, as well as the CCTV footage of Antoine’s crimes.
Detective Constable Scott Walker, from the City of London Police, said: “This footage is unbelievable and shows just how easy it is for someone to take your bag without you even noticing. Bag thefts can cause a huge amount of stress and inconvenience to the victims, not to mention the financial loss. We want to remind people to be vigilant and keep an eye on their belongings at all times.”
Some of the advice given by the police are:
- Keep your bag close to you and in your sight
- Don’t leave your bag on the back of your chair or on the floor
- Use a bag that can be zipped or closed
- Don’t keep valuables or important documents in your bag
- Report any suspicious activity to the police or security staff
The public reaction
The CCTV footage has been widely shared on social media and has sparked a lot of reactions from the public. Some people expressed shock and anger at the thief’s audacity and the victim’s misfortune. Others shared their own experiences of bag thefts or offered some suggestions to avoid them.
One user commented: “This is so scary and infuriating. I always keep my bag on my lap or under the table when I eat out. You can never be too careful.”
Another user wrote: “I had my bag stolen from a shop once. It was a nightmare. I had to cancel all my cards, get a new phone, and replace my ID. It took me weeks to sort everything out.”
A third user suggested: “They should install some hooks or clips on the chairs or tables so people can secure their bags. It would make it harder for the thieves to grab them.”