Jail for Whitechapel burglar who made off with office laptops

Balraj Virdi. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Balraj Virdi. Picture: Metropolitan Police - Credit: Metropolitan Police

An “opportunistic” laptop thief who committed a string of burglaries in Whitechapel has been jailed.

Balraj Virdi, 31, of no fixed address, would enter offices in Hanbury Street and pretend to use an unattended laptop before simply walking away with it.

He was successful on six occasions in that premises alone, as well as committing a series of other offences.

Virdi stole suitcases from students moving out of their Mile End campus on March 31 and, 10 days later, another laptop from a licensed premises in Brick Lane.

He was involved in a robbery the following month, where a man had his phone stolen in an unprovoked attack in Vallace Road.

Virdi was arrested at the scene following the robbery and charged with the offence and the robberies. CCTV footage had identified him as the Whitechapel laptop swiper.

He was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday at Snaresbrook Crown Court, having fessed up to 10 non-residential burglaries, one attempted burglary and one robbery.

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He was also handed a Criminal Behaviour Order to run for eight years, banning him from entering Tower Hamlets.

“Virdi is an opportunistic burglar who has targeted a number of hardworking victims at their place of work,” said Det Con Tony Dowds of the Met’s Forensic Identification Team.

It was “very satisfying”, he added, “to be able to take this man off the streets”.