London: An Indian-origin man and his partner have been sentenced for breaking into gym lockers and stealing bank cards to pay for their lavish lifestyles in south east London.
Ashley Singh (39) and Sophie Bruyea (20) of Widmore Road in Bromley, would visit gyms and rifle through victims’ lockers as they got busy in their workouts, the Metropolitan Police said on Monday.
The pair would then max out their victims’ credit cards on expensive tech and designer gear, before selling them on and using the cash to buy bags, shoes, holidays and a pedigree puppy.
The duo was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on January 10 to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between January 2022 and January 2023 with a total value of 250,000 pounds.
Singh was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment while Bruyea received a 20 months sentence at a young offenders’ institute, suspended for two years.
The court also asked her to undergo a rehabilitation programme and complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
The pair’s spree was noticed by a local officer, who realised there was a pattern and flagged it to detectives who are experts in economic crime.
A Lewisham-based team traced the pair’s phones, cars, and faces on CCTV and linked them all together.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police arrested them at Gatwick Airport on January 27, 2023 as they returned from Paris with 2,000 euros worth of designer goods.
At least 18 people were targeted in what the sentencing judge branded a “wicked conspiracy”.
The judge described the impact the pair’s “wide-ranging spree” had had on people, including instances where people no longer felt safe around strangers, or had suffered professionally due to the stress.
DC Luis Da Silva, from the Met’s economic crime team that investigated this case, said: “We know Londoners are worried about theft. It’s a horrible crime, and it causes a lot of stress, pain, and financial loss. That’s why we take this crime seriously and a whole team of us were committed to catching Singh and Bruyea.
“You couldn’t fail to be moved by the devastating impact their callous behaviour had on people, and we hope that by catching them this offers victims a little bit of solace.”
He urged anyone who has had something stolen to get in touch and said that the proceeds of the duo’s crimes will be used to help compensate the victims.
There were 18 fraud reports in total, with 14 in the Metropolitan area, one from Sussex, one from Hertfordshire and two reports from Cambridgeshire.