TikTok prankster Mizzy given community order for stealing phone while on e-bike

TikTok prankster Mizzy has been handed a community order after he stole a woman’s phone as he rode past her on an e-bike, before fleeing police and attempting to ditch the device in a bush.

Mizzy, whose real name is Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, was riding a green Lime e-bike on June 15 2022 as he snatched the phone out of a woman’s hand in central London, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday.

Amy Gault, prosecuting, said police officers in the area pursued the teenager, then aged 17, after they “noticed Mr O’Garro cycling in a way that they deemed him to be trying to get away from something” and he was eventually arrested.

O’Garro, who is known for his controversial “pranks” on the social media platform TikTok, was found guilty of theft at the same court in April.

Bacari-Bronze O’Garro outside Stratford Magistrates’ Court
Bacari-Bronze O’Garro was riding an e-bike when he snatched the phone out of a woman’s hand in central London in June 2022 (Victoria Jones/PA)

On Thursday, district judge Michael Oliver ordered the teenager, now 19, to pay £500 in compensation to his victim alongside a 12-month community order.

Mr Oliver said the sentence would “serve to punish you and make reparation to the community at large”.

The court heard Ruby Hewitt was left “stressed, anxious and quite scared for my safety” after O’Garro – wearing a blue tracksuit with a blue-and-white scarf on his head – grabbed the iPhone 13 Pro Max, worth about £1,000, from her hand as she was distracted, texting on the device, in Highbury New Park in Islington.

Three Metropolitan Police officers in an unmarked police car, who did not witness the incident, later became suspicious of O’Garro, who was exhibiting “erratic behaviour, going in and out of the road and moving on to the pavement”, Pc David Clifford previously told the court.

O’Garro fled the officers, throwing the device over a fence into bushes before an officer forced him off the bike and he ran away on foot before being arrested.

Keren Weekes, mitigating, said the teenager’s previous detention at a young offenders institution had “had a detrimental effect on his mental health” and he was now “working to make a positive change in society”.

Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court
The sentencing hearing was held at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court (Anthony Devlin/PA)

O’Garro, who has a son, was undertaking two internships – one at a content creation business and the other at a video news outlet – alongside a vocational qualification course in creative media, she added.

Ms Weekes said he was also co-leading the production of an anti-knife crime video as part of his internship for Video Production News.

The court heard O’Garro had three previous convictions at the time of the offence and had been sentenced for a separate theft in July 2022, receiving a youth rehabilitation order with a curfew.

Mr Oliver said the phone theft “really ought to have been dealt with at the same time”.

He said he had considered the fact O’Garro was under 18 when the offence took place, and therefore “a youth in the eyes of the law”.

The judge added: “You are still, now, only 19 years of age … You are still a young person – obtaining the age of 18 is not a cliff edge.”

Ms Gault told the court O’Garro, who appeared in the dock on Thursday, had been arrested in May on suspicion of assault but had not been charged.

The community order requires O’Garro to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

The prankster, of Hackney, east London, had earlier pleaded not guilty to the offence, claiming he had been given the phone by a friend, had not taken part in any previous theft, and fled because he “felt scared of the police”.

Mr Oliver said taking the phone could have had a “catastrophic impact” on the victim, including the loss of “precious photographs”.

He added: “It was plainly your intention that the victim would not get her phone back, it’s just good fortune that those consequences did not happen.”