Two moped muggers caught on CCTV robbing a mother of her £25,000 Rolex watch at knifepoint have been jailed for a total of 17 years and six months.
Thomas McDermott, 24, and George Fitzgerald, 17, raced through the streets of Chelsea, west London, looking for wealthy victims before jumping off their bikes and attacking Heather Mitchell.
CCTV played to Southwark Crown Court showed the mother’s children watching in horror as she was dragged along the ground.
The thieves wrenched her Rolex Day-Date from her wrist after robbing a businessman of his Rolex Oyster Perpetual timepiece just days before.
Other shocking footage shows the gang, which included 20-year-old Hisham Tawfik, threaten people armed with a hammer and an ankle grinder.
Shocking footage shows the robbers armed with an angle grinder as they threatened wealthy people in west London
Thomas McDermott, 24, (left) and George Fitzgerald, 17, (right) raced through the streets of Chelsea, west London, looking for wealthy victims
McDermott was on bail at the time at the time for stealing seven motorbikes and mopeds worth tens of thousands of pounds with Tawfik.
They grabbed Piaggios, Hondas Vespa and even top of the range Ducatis and a rare MV Agusta worth a total of up to £60,000.
McDermott was jailed for 12 and a half years while Fitzgerald was locked up for five years in a youth detention centre. Tawfik was detained for three years.
Judge Martin Beddoe told the trio: ‘You Mr McDermott and Mr Tawfik stole motorcycles. There value came to £55,000 or perhaps a little more.
‘Although there was no violence in the crimes, there was the threat of violence. You Mr McDermott threatened members of the public who tried to stop you with an angle grinder, and you Mr Tawfik threatened people with a hammer.’
The judge lifted an order protecting Fitzgerald’s anonymity and said: ‘You were the driver when Mr McDermott wrestled with Heather Mitchell for her Rolex watch has her two young children watched.
‘We have heard how her eight-year-old daughter has had to have counselling and has been robbed of her childhood and security.’
Girlfriends and family members of the thieves blew kisses at them as their crimes were detailed.
Paul Fairley, prosecuting, said the trio were friends and lived near to each other.
Members of the gang were filmed on shocking CCTV threatening people with hammers and ankle grinders
The men were armed and would typically target wealthy people in parts of Chelsea in west London
‘These were organised, relatively sophisticated, well planned and, mostly, efficient and well executed offences,’ he said.
‘The theft of the high value motorcycles has had a significant increase in Westminster and the surrounding boroughs in recent years.
‘In this case, some of the motorcycles stolen were worth £20,000. The sell-on value to those who stole them must therefore also have been high.
‘The detection of this set of offences came as a result of enquires into the ownership of the motorcycles found in Tawfik’s garage.
Hisham Tawfik, 20, (pictured) was detained for three years
‘One of them looked very similar to a motorcycle being offered for sale on ‘Gumtree’. That sale page linked to a phone number which was linked to Fitzgerald.
‘When officers went to his home on 29 June 2017 and arrested him, a search was conducted of his bedroom.
‘Officers found a Louis Vuitton holdall, which contained a number of items of motorcycle clothing including jackets, trousers, gloves, a balaclava and a ‘snood’.
‘The trousers were distinctive Adidas trousers. This was a fortunate but key find for the officers.
‘They had been investigating a series of theft and robbery offences which had occurred during June 2017.
‘These items had been seen around London on CCTV and because of that the police were able to use them to identify the defendants.’
Describing the attack on Ms Mitchell, the prosecutor said: ‘McDermott together with Fitzgerald went to Chelsea in June 2017.
The thieves were armed and wrenched the mother’s Rolex Day-Date from her wrist after robbing a businessman of his Rolex Oyster Perpetual timepiece just days before
When the woman realised she was going to be attacked she screamed and told her children to run away
‘They saw a woman called Heather Mitchell. She was with her two children at the time taking them to school.
‘They approached her, and she became suspicious. When she realised she was going to be attacked she screamed and told her children to run away. Then the defendant pulled out a knife and dragged her along the ground.
‘She was screaming for her children. In her statement she told of how her children had been robbed of their security and childhood.
‘They also attacked Erez Gehl in St John’s Wood Park – where Fitzgerald got off the bike and tried to grab a Rolex watch worth £10,000. He pulled out a knife and held it against the man’s chest.’
McDermott, of Kilburn, admitted conspiracy to rob, theft, attempted theft, and threatening behaviour and was jailed for 12 years six months with eight years.
Fitzgerald, of Dagenham, admitted conspiracy to rob, theft and making of without payment and was sentenced to five years in detention.
Tawfik, of West Kilburn, admitted theft, handling stolen goods and threatening behaviour and was sentenced to three years in a youth detention centre.