Man caught selling stolen high tech survey gear online

Grant Prior 4 years ago
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A man who attempted to sell high value surveying equipment which had been stolen has been sentenced following a tip off from a vigilant member of the public.

Mihai-Gavril Chifan, 43, of Hatfield, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court yesterday to three counts of handling stolen goods.

Chifan was sentenced to 13 months in prison, suspended for 12 months for the three counts, to run concurrently as well as 80 hours of unpaid work to be completed within 12 months.

Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 have also been initiated by the prosecution to the amount Chifan benefited from his crimes.

Chifan was arrested on 11 October 2018 after officers were made aware of stolen equipment being sold online.

Three Leica Geosystems robotic total surveying station products worth up to £22,700 each were linked to Chifan and were later proven to be stolen.

The court heard that on 1 October 2018, a member of the public spotted an advertisement for surveying equipment for sale online.

The potential buyer contacted Leica Geosystems to check if the item had been stolen.

After checks with the original customer, it was deemed that, the TS16 (A) Total Station worth around £20,000, was stolen just a few days earlier. The exact item was now for sale online.

From this point, officers from Central Specialist Crime were contacted and an investigation started.

Further checks confirmed it had been stolen via a burglary in November 2017.

Chifan was arrested on 11 October 2018 on suspicion of handling stolen goods. As a result of this, his mobile phone was seized. In the deleted section of the image file were four pictures of Leica items.

Detective Constable Anita Sharma, of Central Specialist Crime, who lead the investigation, said: “This whole case was built on the vigilance of an eagle eyed member of the public who had serious doubts over the legitimacy of Chifan’s adverts.

“We were able to locate deleted photographs proving the stolen items were in his kitchen, which Chifan couldn’t explain in interview.

“Chifan clearly has little regard for the law and as a result will now have to deal with the punishment.

“He will face future confiscation proceedings, meaning he will have to pay back the financial benefit from his criminal conduct.”

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