Ioan Barbu, 21, of Blacklands Street, Birmingham, and Sammuel Gheorghe, 20, of Tewson Road, London, targeted BrightHouse retail store at 11.20am in early January. They were this month sentenced after police, CCTV operators, the Town Enforcement Officer and Intu worked together to catch the pair.
They were spotted in BrightHouse, Watford High Street, by the council’s Town Enforcement Officer, who asked not to be named in order not to blow his cover.
He said: “I was walking past, took a glimpse in the window and caught two men acting suspiciously. One had his back towards the staff and the other had some wire cutters and they were yanking the barricades back to take the tablet from the display stands.
“It is a big window and they were standing right by it. I told the manager what was happening and contacted the PCSO team. I followed the men down the High Street and asked the CCTV team to monitor them.”
The pair went into Intu shopping centre, where they were arrested after attempting to cut the security cable from a tablet computer that they had taken from BrightHouse. They later pleaded guilty to the attempted theft of a Samsung tablet from the store and going equipped to steal with a pair of wire cutters. Barbu was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison while Gheorghe was given 12 weeks in a young offender institution. Both were ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.
Watford Borough Council’s Town Enforcement Officer is part of the Safer Watford partnership, through which Watford’s major organisations work together to make the borough the best it can be. The Town Enforcement Officer has a range of powers that help ensure the town centre is a great place to work, live, study and visit – for example, issuing fines to people who drop litter.
Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant for Watford Simon Mason said: “We had police officers on proactive patrol in the town at the time so they were able to quickly attend and make the arrests. This is just one example of how partnership working in Watford helps ensure the area remains a safe place.”