This is the shocking moment a female pickpocket gang were caught on camera stealing a tourist’s purse in London’s West End.
Nina Spencer and friend Toi were walking through Cambridge Circus towards the Palace Theatre in central London earlier this month while making a video of themselves from a selfie stick to show friends.
But after they had crossed the road, Toi looked inside her Louis Vuitton handbag and noticed her designer purse containing £400 in cash and her credit cards was missing.
It is the latest shocking example of a numerous cases of pick-pocketing in London and comes amid a flurry of petty crime in the capital, with thefts on the Underground increasing 80 per cent in the last three years.
Devastated Toi and Ms Spencer, both from Thailand, watched back their video and were shocked to see a young woman put her hand into the bag and take the purse.
She appeared to have been part of a gang of three female pickpockets and the other two women could be seen taking part in the theft.
Footage shows a woman in a black jumper and black sunglasses looking over Nina’s shoulder while a second woman, in black leather jacket and holding a red smartphone, looks into Toi’s bag.
At the same time, the woman in sunglasses uses a large black shopping bag to shield the thief’s hand.
The first pickpocket then dips her hand into Toi’s bag and pulls out the purse.
The two women are then joined by a third accomplice in sunglasses, who walks round the back of them to receive the stolen purse under her coat.
All three women then quickly walk away together in a different direction.
After crossing the road, Ms Spencer and Toi are seen happily chatting before Toi looks into her bag and notices the purse has gone.
Ms Spencer then shouts, ‘Oh my God’, before the pair watch the footage back.
Devastated Ms Spencer said she reported the theft to police but said they have not had the wallet returned.
She said: ‘We reported this to the police straight away. They asked me for the location where it happened and we sent them the video of it.
‘We don’t think it’s possible to have the money back now. But we just want to be helpful and let the police be aware of things going on in the city.’
Ms Spencer, who is originally from Thailand, has been living in the UK for several years with her British husband. Her friend, Toi, was visiting her.
Ms Spencer said the theft has left them both disappointed with their experience in London due to being the victims of crime.
She said: ‘It’s sad that this had to spoil our trip. I hope the police can catch them so that it doesn’t happen to other people.’
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘A report of theft was made at the front counter of a central London police station at about 13:30hrs on Monday, 17 June.
‘The victim, a woman aged in her 50s, had her purse containing cash stolen out of her bag in Cambridge Circus, WC2H, at about 16:30hrs on Sunday, 16 June No arrests have been made.’
The pair’s ordeal comes following figures from the British Transport Police which revealed how similar thefts on the London Underground have increased by more than 80 per cent in the past three years.
In 2016-17 there were 3,730 reports. This number increased to 6,825 in 2018-19.
The Piccadilly and Central lines saw the highest number of thefts, with a combined total of 2,250 reports made in the past year.
In March, two Romanian pickpockets were jailed after they stole from Tube passengers across London and used the money they raised to fly home to their families.
Gabriel Gabara, 31, and Gigi Parnica, 28, carried out a series of thefts at Tube stations across the capital after arriving in the UK late last year.
They were caught when a plain clothes police officer saw them trying to steal from a woman in her 70s at West Ham Station in east London on February 1.
And it has previously been revealed how shameless begging gangs are getting children as young as three to hug strangers in the street until they hand over cash.
These modern day Fagin-style gangs were operating a half-mile stretch of Oxford Street between Marble Arch and Bond Street tube station entrances, focusing on the world-famous Selfridges department store.