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Burglar jailed after meeting victims online

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A conman who met his victims through dating websites has been sentenced to four years in prison, after stealing from and defrauding women from Bushey and Borehamwood Simon Cohen, aged 32 years old and of Acklington Drive, Colindale, London, was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Monday (November 16) for two counts of burglary and two counts of fraud. In December 2013, Cohen arranged to meet one victim, a woman in her 50s from Borehamwood, after meeting her on a dating website. After meeting the victim at her home on one occasion, he took images of personal paperwork. It is believed Cohen then returned to her address on numerous occasions over the next few months. Each time he entered without causing damage and either took items, such as jewellery, an iPad or cash, or just moved the victim’s belongings around. On one occasion, Cohen used a false identity he created on a dating website, a man called John, to arrange a meeting with her. But when she arrived at the agreed location, ‘John’ never showed up. In the meantime Cohen had again entered into her home. Previously, in November 2013 Cohen had befriended another victim using a dating website – this time a woman in her 30s from Bushey. Again he has visited the woman’s home on one occasion but while inside has, unknown to her, taken photos of her credit cards for use online. Detective Constable Darren Machin, from the Hertsmere Local Crime Unit, said: “Cohen befriended his victims through online dating websites with the sole intention of stealing or defrauding them. His predatory actions had a significant psychological impact on his victims. Not only had they fallen into his trap but for one victim, numerous items went missing without explanation over a period of months, leading to her doubting her own actions and even at times question her own sanity. “These kinds of burglaries and frauds are very unusual however I would encourage people who use the internet to take sensible precautions to stay safe. If you believe you have had communication with or met Simon Cohen and have lost property under similar circumstances, I would urge you to contact the Hertsmere Local Crime Unit via the police non-emergency number 101.” Alternatively contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will never need to go to court. At St Albans Crown Court, Cohen was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for two burglaries (served concurrently) and 15 months for two counts of fraud (concurrent to each other but consecutive to the burglaries sentences), giving four years in total. Police are urging people using dating websites to exercise caution when sharing information about themselves online, in case the person is not who they say they are. Do not reveal details of your home or work address online and always meet in public places, and not either person’s home. Make your own way to the meeting point and don’t accept them collecting you from your address. Don’t leave your personal items unattended in their company and report anything suspicious to the police.

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