A man who pickpocketed more than 50 phones from a Royal Blood concert in just one night has been jailed after police found he concealed the devices inside a full-length swimsuit.
Alin Marin, 22, of no fixed address, turned himself into a "human deposit box" for phones, stolen from revellers in the mosh pit during a concert in Birmingham in late November.
According to the West Midlands Police, officers were also in the crowd that night as part of a covert operation prompted by intelligence that thieves had targeted fans of the band at performances earlier in the year.
Romanian national Marin stole 53 phones inside a "compression suit" he was wearing beneath his clothing.
He was arrested in Broad Street shortly after leaving the gig and the phones recovered from a nearby car park.
He was charged with theft and at Birmingham Crown Court Monday (18 December) was jailed for 3 years.
Birmingham city centre police sergeant, Julia Slater, said the jail term should send out a clear message to travelling thieves: come to the West Midlands and risk being jailed.
"This was organised pick-pocketing," she said. "Marin went equipped to steal phones and took advantage of revellers enjoying themselves in the standing area.
"Many of the phones were taken from front jeans pockets, which people believe is a safer place to carry valuables, but due to the jostling in the mosh pit they simply didn't realise they'd been targeted. He slipped phones inside the swimsuit and effectively turned himself into a deposit box for the phones, allowing him to carry tens of phones concealed around his body."
Sgt Slater urged other gig-goers to be vigilant when attending busy gigs. She said: "It's an unfortunate reality that large crowds at concerts can make rich pickings for career criminals."
"You can also reduce your chances of falling victim to such crimes by remaining extra vigilant; look out for suspicious behaviour and only take the valuables with you that you really need."
At the time of the incident, West Midlands Police urged people to record details of their mobile phones and other valuables on the national property register – known as Immobilise – which it said can help police to reunite stolen electronics with their rightful owners if seized.