Thief who targeted elderly victims in supermarkets across Bromley town centre, Petts Wood and Orpington jailed

News Shopper: Thief who targeted elderly victims in supermarkets across Bromley town centre, Petts Wood and Orpington jailed Thief who targeted elderly victims in supermarkets across Bromley town centre, Petts Wood and Orpington jailed

A serial thief who targeted elderly victims in supermarkets across Bromley town centre, Petts Wood and Orpington has been jailed for four years.

John Gwillim-Jones, aged 60, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to 39 theft offences in Bromley and the home counties at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday (March 11).

Gwillim-Jones would remove bags left in shopping trolleys by his victims, before walking off with them when his victims were distracted.

He used the rail network to travel around the country, often targeted stores near mainline stations and committed the offences in midweek afternoons.

News Shopper:

The Farnborough and Crofton Safer Neighbourhood Team identified a pattern to the offending and identified Gwillim-Jones through CCTV at the scene of the offences.

The trial judge said when imposing the prison sentence that Gwillim-Jones is a professional rather than opportunist, and he preyed on the vulnerable and elderly.

He had 146 previous convictions.

Detective Sergeant Jim Herron, from Bromley police, said "Gwillim-Jones was totally non-descript.

"He was 60 years old and to all intents and purposes looked like a grandfather out shopping, easily blending into the store environment.

"He moved about unnoticed as is common with handbag thieves, looking like a normal shopper and stealing with impunity."

News Shopper:

DS Herron added: "Offences such as these rely on shoppers leaving their bags in trolleys while shopping and then becoming distracted, leaving them at the mercy of characters like Gwillim-Jones.

"In a lot of the offences, house keys, mobile phones and treasured personal items were stolen, causing the victim a considerable amount of inconvenience.

"I would ask shoppers to please take care of your bags when out in public. Those responsible prey on opportunity. 

"Keep your bags close and limit their opportunities."

Comments (5)

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4:03pm Fri 14 Mar 14

SidcupResident says...

146 previous offences and he gets a '4 year' sentence.... So he'll be out in under 2 years and will be back to thieving off elderly and vulnerable ladies again.
146 previous offences and he gets a '4 year' sentence.... So he'll be out in under 2 years and will be back to thieving off elderly and vulnerable ladies again. SidcupResident
  • Score: 10

5:50pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Hyper-Deactive says...

some scum bag broke into my mums car a couple of years ago but was caught through DNA evidence and he had over 200 other offences to his name and ended up getting 2 weeks in prison but walked free because of time served.

the justice system is a joke in this country.
some scum bag broke into my mums car a couple of years ago but was caught through DNA evidence and he had over 200 other offences to his name and ended up getting 2 weeks in prison but walked free because of time served. the justice system is a joke in this country. Hyper-Deactive
  • Score: 8

11:38am Sun 16 Mar 14

white rabbit9 says...

That's one damaged man. He needs to do community supervised work, cleaning up pensioners houses, gardens not just prison time.
That's one damaged man. He needs to do community supervised work, cleaning up pensioners houses, gardens not just prison time. white rabbit9
  • Score: 4

6:13pm Sun 16 Mar 14

sarfflondonbird says...

He really had a fettish for ladies handbags .... the perv. Seriously, these judges must be on something when they preside and hand out these pathetic sentences. You just cant make them out can you, then again, you come to expect 'soft touch' policing and justice in this country these days dont you?
He really had a fettish for ladies handbags .... the perv. Seriously, these judges must be on something when they preside and hand out these pathetic sentences. You just cant make them out can you, then again, you come to expect 'soft touch' policing and justice in this country these days dont you? sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 9

10:53am Mon 17 Mar 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Deport him back to Wales. !


Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Deport him back to Wales. ! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -11

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