TWO men have been jailed for ten years after robbing victims in online dating marketplaces.
Between September 6, 2020 and October 11, 2020, the group committed five thefts and one attempted theft across Levenshulme and Gorton, creating fake profiles in online marketplaces to trick victims into meeting them under the guise of buying and to sell phones.
On one occasion, Nana Vandevelde of Penroyson Close and a stranger met the victim in Gorton on the pretext that they were going to buy an iPhone XS.
When the victim went to the place of the meeting, the attackers took out a large kitchen knife with which they threatened the victim, holding it against his neck and stomach, before demanding his phone and the money that the victim handed over.
In another incident, the victim had agreed to sell his iPhone and was with his pregnant wife when he was approached by two men, including Zane Arshad of Slade Grove, who pulled out a knife and stole his phone.
The final theft took place in October 2020 when two teenagers aged 18 and 16 were contacted by the group online, using a fake profile created by Ayomide Schwan of Mulgrove Walk, claiming they wanted to buy an iPhone 11 .
Upon arrival in Levenshulme, the teenagers were approached by Vandevelde and Arshad.
The 18-year-old, who was holding the iPhone, turned around and started running while being chased by the couple.
The victims dropped their phones and wallets and the 18-year-old dropped his watch on the floor during a brief struggle. All items were stolen by the couple.
On Thursday February 17 at Manchester Crown Court, Vandevelde was jailed for five years and six months after pleading guilty to four counts of robbery and attempted robbery.
Schwan was also convicted yesterday and given a 22-month sentence suspended for two years.
He also received 250 hours of unpaid labor after pleading guilty to one count of theft.
Arshad was previously convicted in October 2021 and jailed for four years and six months after pleading guilty to two counts of robbery.
DC Leon Cawley-Bowyer of GMP’s Operation Valiant said: ‘Let’s hope today’s sentencing gives these men the time they need to reflect on their actions and the terror they have inflicted on their innocent victims in order to take advantage of their own selfishness.”