The crime took place in North Oxford between 6th and 7th and Thames Valley Police are now investigating.
The student was followed and approached by a man who then claimed to be a plain clothes police officer investigating a mobile phone theft.
After searching through the student’s bag he took possession of the mobile phone, headphones and money, telling the student they could collect their belongings from a Police Station later using a receipt. However, when the student arrived to collect their belongings, they were informed there was no such investigation.
Criminal gangs are known to use this tactic to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists, isolating victims and stealing their belongings. There were fears such gangs would come to Britain during the Olympics in order to manipulate the large numbers of visiting tourists. Whether this theft was undertaken by a gang or someone working alone remains unclear.
In an e-mail to members of the University new OUSU President David Townsend warned students of further crimes, saying: “I don’t want any more students to fall victim to this” as well as listing advice for any student who is approached in this way.”
The main advice from Thames Valley Police is to always ask for official police identification, most importantly a warrant card, police badge and their ‘shoulder number’ which all police officers should know off by heart. They also advised anyone who is suspicious about the identity of someone claiming to be a plain-clothes officer to phone the non-emergency police number 101 and report any concerns.
The alleged criminal is said to be a white male, around 6ft tall and aged between 35-45. He was wearing a dark purple baseball cap with a NY logo and grey fingerless gloves, as well as sporting a short grey beard. Anyone with any information to report can contact the police by calling 101.