Delivery driver and former Shomrim volunteer guilty of lying about Stamford Hill 'robbery' that never happened
PUBLISHED: 15:18 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:54 20 May 2019
A courier and a former Stamford Hill Shomrim volunteer falsely accused two boys of robbery and held them captive until the police arrived.
Moped rider Thiago Alves, 38, of Pretoria Road, and former Shomrim volunteer Michael Scher, 32, of Amhurst Park, were sentenced today after admitting they perverted the course of justice.
Alves was jailed for eight months, while Scher has had his five months in prison suspended for two years.
Meanwhile a warrant is out for the arrest of fellow ex-Shomrim member Yaakov Nowogrodski, of Fairholt Park, after he was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and false imprisonment.
The 27-year-old failed to attend court, and police are looking to arrest him. He has fled abroad, according to the Met.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, president of the Jewish neighbourhood watch group, told the Gazette the pair had made a mistake, adding they had not worked with Shomrim for two years.
Police received calls on July 3, 2017, saying two teenagers had been detained for robbery in the Stamford Hill area by Shomrim members.
Allegations were made that the boys, 13 and 15, had tried to rob Alves of his moped. It was claimed they surrounded him, demanded his moped keys, and pushed him.
Alves, Scher and Nowogrodski all made sworn statements to officers supporting the allegations.
As a result, the youths were arrested at the scene and taken to a police station, where they were held for 16 hours.
But they were cleared and released when detectives investigating the allegations found CCTV of the incident that disproved the story.
The boys were not near Alves and hadn't pushed him or tried to steal his moped. They were released and an investigation began into a possible conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Police still don't know why the men lied.
Rabbi Gluck told the Gazette: "We have an extremely rigorous training and selection process. We are very careful in who we choose, but people are human and they make mistakes, in all areas of life.
"These guys did a lot of good work and were very devoted, but it seems that they made a mistake.
"We have always had measures in place [to ensure the right people are recruited], and we are tightening them. We are rigorous in choosing people to work with us."
In a statement, he added: "All our members have always undergone criminal history checks and a rigorous investigation to ensure complete moral probity.
"The Shomrim members involved in this incident were immediately suspended as soon as we were made aware of these serious allegations. Their behaviour fell way below the standards expected from any of our volunteers and was a serious aberration.
"Since this incident nearly two years ago, Shomrim has provided its dedicated volunteers with extra training, to further ensure integrity comes first and foremost. We deeply regret the distress caused to these young men and we send them our best wishes."
Det Sgt James Leeks said: "The officers who attended that night acted in good faith, but were deceived by a deliberate criminal conspiracy. It is regrettable that, as a result, two young men were arrested and detained. Their arrest and loss of liberty would have been traumatic for both them and their families.
"Why these men decided to fabricate this case may never be explained. However, abusing the criminal justice system in such an underhand manner is disgraceful. Those responsible for this despicable deception will now have to face the consequences of their actions."