Three men jailed for a series of train robberies in south London

(Left to Right) Elias Angulo Ruiz, Juan Martinez Vargas, Starling Rodriguez Jose. Pic: Met Police

Three men have been handed jail sentences totalling twelve years and seven months for orchestrating a string of robberies on trains across south London. 

The culprits, Elias Angulo Ruiz, 22, of Hammersmith, Starling Rodriguez Jose, 24, of Canning Town, and Juan Martinez Vargas, 22, of Ealing, were identified using CCTV footage.

In March 2020,  Ruiz was found to be in possession of a bag containing two knives at west Croydon Railway Station. 

A year later in September 2021, he attempted to rob a man at knifepoint onboard a train between Nunhead and Elephant & Castle.

In addition to being convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, Ruiz was charged with two counts of possession of a bladed article.

The convictions, exposed by a joint effort by the British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police, highlight a pattern of criminal behaviour targeting commuters at stations such as Elephant & Castle, Tulse Hill, and Sydenham.

The British Transport Police confirmed that the group operated over a six-week period in the summer of 2019 and committed a total of 14 robberies. 

During several of these instances, the robbers violently ripped gold chains off their victims’ necks. 

In one particularly brutal incident onboard a train between Tulse Hill and Streatham, a victim was subjected to punches and kicks to the face, with the perpetrators stealing a silver chain worth just £36.

Detective Sergeant Tulin Akdam, the lead investigator of the case, said: “Criminals like this should know that we’ll make sure they face justice for the crimes they inflict on innocent members of the public”. 

Akdam described the group as “cowardly” and highlighted the rail network’s extensive CCTV coverage, which played a pivotal role in proving their culpability. She also assured the public of the ongoing efforts by uniformed and plain-clothes teams to patrol the rail network daily, deter robbery, and ensure the safety of passengers.

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