Hampstead High Street break-ins: 'Shocking' phone shop robbery adds to village trend
PUBLISHED: 18:30 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:21 01 October 2019
Five people raided the O2 phone shop in Hampstead yesterday, threatening staff with knives and making off with four handsets.
The raiders, thought to be teenagers, came into the store at 11am. One of them jumped on a display table holding phones, kicking and damaging it. They then ran off with four phones.
Debbie Kagam, who lives in Hampstead, was walking down the high street at the time with her two daughters. She said she heard "shouting and screaming" coming from the shop, and saw somebody standing on top of a table.
"I went back later and couldn't believe it when a girl who works there told me it wasn't the first time," she said.
"I was absolutely shocked. These are 14- to 16-year-olds - why aren't they in school?
"The police have to come from Kentish Town as well as the local police stations are shut. We have no police on our streets. I find it very sad."
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Store manager Kai Norville confirmed the incident had taken place, but said staff weren't surprised by it.
"It is scary but we're used to it now," he said. "It happens all over the UK, not just in Hampstead."
He said the gang had carried out identical robberies on the store previously. O2 has passed on CCTV to police, and is looking at further security measures in store, he added.
Nobody was injured.
The chair of Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhood Panel, Susan West, confirmed it had happened before and said: "It's sad that five kids feel emboldened to do this kind of thing, It's worrying."
On Sunday night, the front window of clothes shop Comptoir des Cottoniers was also smashed in an attempted burglary, but those responsible were not able to get into the store. The nearby David Clulow optician's shop was broken into at the beginning of September, too - and the Ham&High understands it wasn't the first time.
Scotland Yard confirmed the O2 shop robbery saw "a group of five males" enter the shop and cause "criminal damage before stealing property". It added that the David Clulow break-in had involved a moped used to force entry. No one has been arrested over either incident.