Man, 22, who preyed on gay community to steal their belongings claimed he was 17 to avoid being tried as an adult

Tuesday 5 March 2024

A predator who targeted men from London's gay community to steal from them has been jailed for 11 years.

Reda Zahri, 22, struck-up conversations with his victims, often engaging in sexual activity with them before stealing their personal belongings.

On one occasion he stole more than £25,000 from his victim carrying the goods away using a suitcase.

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Detectives managed to track Zahri down after he stole items from a man he had met in Camden.

The victim had managed to get Zahri’s Instragram handle and showed this to officers.

When Zahri was arrested on 12 May 2022 following an incident in Camden, when he initially refused to answer any questions.

Zahri claimed to be 17, making him a juvenile in the eyes of the law, in an attempt to avoid being tried as an adult.

However, tenacious detectives suspected this wasn’t the case and managed to find a link to Germany where Zahri had been before coming to the UK.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary, one count of false imprisonment and one count of attempting to commit robbery relating to three different men.

Detective Constable Nigel Pacquette from the Safeguarding Team based at Charing Cross Police Station led the investigation and said: "All three of Zahri’s victims were gay men, making clear that he was preying on members of the gay community.

"I also hope this sends out a strong message that the police will investigate anyone and everyone who has been a victim of crime.

"It is entirely plausible that Zahri targeted other people who, for whatever reason, have not had the confidence to come forward and report this.

"I would urge you to please make contact with police so we can investigate any allegations thoroughly."