4:30pm Wednesday 16th May 2012
Customers at a city karaoke bar were pick-pocketed by a man who claimed to be trying to set up an impromptu Great Escape Festival DJ set.
The man, who was with a group, and appeared to be wearing Festival delegate lanyards, told staff at Lucky Voice in Black Lion Street, Brighton, that he wanted to set up a party in the bar area on Friday night.
Shahin Islam, the manager of the karaoke club, said: “The man was acting weird but we didn’t think much of it.
“After a while he separated from the rest of the group and left on his own.”
Following reports from customers that items had been stolen Mr Islam checked the venue’s CCTV, which showed the man taking phones, wallets and a bag.
He added: “The police have told us that it’s a big problem at the moment. It appears to be quite organised.”
Police yesterday confirmed that they were looking for the man and have asked anyone who saw anything suspicious to get in touch.
A force spokeswoman said that two mobile phones and a wallet had been taken from one customer and a bag from another.
She added that officers were investigating the suggestion he used festival material to gain people’s trust.
Delegate passes, which enable holders to skip queues and attend the festival’s music industry conference, are available to anyone for £120.
A Festival spokeswoman said: “As far as we know the identity of the thief remains unclear, but we will be co-operating with any requests put to us by police in the course of their investigation.”
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Having a wallet or phone stolen can be very distressing and incredibly inconvenient. We would encourage people to keep their valuables close while out in busy places to make it difficult for opportunist thieves.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting serial 2061 of 11/5 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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