Footage of sneak thieves pinching a woman’s handbag at Heathrow airport has been issued by police to warn travellers never to leave their luggage unattended.
Daniel Kennedy, 54, and 45-year-old Denise Blackburn were caught on camera nicking the bag in a phone shop at the airport west of London on Halloween last year.
CCTV footage captures Blackburn and Kennedy laughing and watching their intended targets – a couple who had just landed from Ghana.
When their victims turned their backs to their luggage, Blackburn and Kennedy made their move.
Blackburn stood next to one of the victims at the shop counter, helping block the view as Kennedy quickly brushed past the luggage, holding his jacket over his arm to hide his hand as he grabbed the handbag.
Blackburn and Kennedy then hurried from the shop.
When the victims realised their bag was missing, they reported it to the police who quickly set about tracing the culprits.
Police trawled through CCTV from inside and outside the airport, eventually identifying the duo driving into the airport car park and back out after steraling the bag.
Investigating officer PC Jon Houston, of the Met Police Aviation Policing Command, said: “The footage is a reminder to keep luggage within sight and reach because, in the blink of an eye, it can disappear.
“It’s easy to be distracted at an airport as our minds are often on other things, and luggage is cumbersome to carry around, but the benefits of keeping your eyes on your bags far outweigh the distress and disruption caused by them being stolen.
“In this case, the stolen bag contained a large quantity of money, jewellery and both victims’ passports.”
He added: “Blackburn and Kennedy made a ludicrous attempt to throw investigators off the scent by driving themselves into the car park but having their son Ryan Kennedy drive them out, while they hid in the back covered with a jacket.
“Within 48 hours, we had identified the couple and arrested Blackburn and Ryan Kennedy at their home address.”
Police officers recovered from the address in Elephant and Castle,south London, some of the victims’ money and jewellery, including an Armani watch which Blackburn was wearing when she was arrested. They also recovered a quantity of cannabis.
Officers arrested Daniel Kennedy a week later.
All three pleaded guilty when they appeared at Isleworth Crown Court.
Daniel Kennedy was jailed for two years for theft, driving without a license and driving with no insurance. He was also disqualified from driving for 16 months.
A suspended sentence of eight months in jail for a previous conviction was also activated, meaning he will serve a total of two years, eight months.
Blackburn was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, for theft and possession of cannabis.
Ryan Kennedy 19, also of elephant and Castle, was conditionally discharged for 12 months and was disqualified from driving for a year, for driving while disqualified, driving with no insurance and possession of cannabis.
Det Chief Ins[ Sharon Brookes, of the Aviation Policing Command, added: “I am pleased that my team were able to return some of the stolen items to the victims.
“The Met Police is determined to keep people flying in and out of the UK safe from opportunists like Blackburn and Daniel Kennedy.
“The victims sent a message of thanks to PC Houston for his work and I was delighted to read that, subsequently, they will continue to holiday in the UK.”