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10 October 2014, 19:04
Two men who impersonated police officers to steal money from tourists visiting London have been jailed.
Police are also continuing to appeal for help in locating two people who failed to appear at court and a further six suspects who they need help identifying in connection with their ongoing investigation into offences where suspects impersonate police officers to steal.
Romanians Gabriel Pana, 50, and Alexandru Tudor, 38, were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday 10 October 2014 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal.
The pair worked together across London, impersonating police officers on four occasions, presenting fake identification to unsuspecting members of the public before requesting they hand over their wallets or purses, which they stated they needed to search. Money or credit cards were then taken.
In one offence where the victim did not have any money, Pana stole a credit card and managed to persuade the victim to provide her PIN number. CCTV showed Pana and a second suspect leaving the scene and immediately using a cash point nearby. Enquiries into how much was stolen are ongoing.
The thefts took place between 27 November 2013 and 7 July 2014 in Southwark, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden.
Police are still looking for two other people - Niculae Stan, 48, and Laurentiu Stan, 38, who were charged with conspiracy to steal and failed to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 2 September 2014.
They are also trying to identify a further six people.
Acting Superintendent Andrew Johnstone, Roads and Transport Policing Command said: "This is the second conviction the Roads and Transport Policing Command have secured as part of this investigation and demonstrates our commitment to tackling this type of crime. In addition, as part of this investigation we are releasing images of further suspects, we want help identifying and locating.
"Whilst the chance of this type of offence happening to you is small, I would urge people to remain vigilant. If someone in plain clothes approaches you and says they are a police officer without offering a warrant card, ask them for it.
"If they are genuine they will be very happy to show you it and to let you inspect it. If you in any way doubt of the identity of an officer call 999 and ask a uniformed officer to attend. Never provide anyone with your PIN number, genuine officers would never ask for this information."