A 20-year-old man who carried out a series of knifepoint robberies over a 12-day period after choosing his victims through social media and classified ad websites has been jailed.
Jalees Ahmad, of Filton, would respond to his victims’ social media posts offering mobile phones for sale.
When he turned up to collect the items, he would threaten them with a hunting knife and steal the phones.
In one of the incidents, a 35-year-old man was stabbed when he tried to defend himself and suffered lacerations to his hands and legs.
Ahmad was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court yesterday to 10 years’ imprisonment for five counts of robbery, one count of theft, five counts of possessing a bladed article and possession with intent to supply cannabis. A previous suspended sentence was also activated as a result of his offending.
Ahmad carried out the robberies in the Hotwells, Clifton and Westbury-on-Trym areas of Bristol, Keynsham, Kingswood and Weston-super-Mare. The offences happened between 2 March and 13 March 2019.
Investigating officer PC Harriet Drewett said: “Jalees Ahmad carried out a terrifying series of robberies in which some of the victims were threatened in their own homes.
“In most of the incidents, Ahmad made off with expensive mobile phones which had been advertised on social media and classified ad websites.
“In one of the incidents, a victim was stabbed as he tried to defend himself. He’s still recovering from his injuries and needs crutches to get around.
“Ahmad was caught after leaving the sheath for his hunting knife at the scene of one of the robberies. We were able to recover forensic evidence from the sheath which provided a DNA match to Ahmad. A fingerprint left on an iPhone box also matched Ahmad’s.
“During our investigation we located the hunting knife at Ahmad’s home and found CCTV footage of him topping up a mobile phone he used to contact one of the victims.
“We take knife crime offences like these extremely seriously and I welcome the significant sentence given by the court. I’d like to thank all the victims for supporting our investigation and I hope this conviction will help with the ongoing recovery process.”
Some crime prevention tips when selling items online:
- Agree to meet the buyer in a public place where there will be plenty of people around
- Do not be drawn into remote areas
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid places that have poor street lighting or places where your meeting could be shielded from view
- Meet during busy times and preferably in daylight hours
- Tell someone where you are going and who you are meeting. If possible go with someone else.
- Do not allow any potential buyers control of the item before you are certain they are genuine
- Keep a record of the seller’s details including their email address and phone number. Also, without being obvious, make a mental note of their description and if possible, make a note of the registration of any vehicle they might have.
- Keep your phone switched on
- Dial 999 if you feel threatened
- If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of the meeting place or the person trust your instincts, do not stay or do not agree to meet and cancel the sale