Kristian Dolinski, 43, of Hogarth Road, Queensbury was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment on Wednesday, 15 January.
David Glowacki, 33, of the same addresses was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
Both men pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court on the same day following an investigation by the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command.
Dolinski admitted 21 theft offences, while Glowacki admitted assisting in three of them.
The victims were almost all elderly, with the majority in their 70s or 80s, and the oldest being a 93-year-old woman.
Dolinski often used a sharp blade to cut bags and pockets before removing property from victims whom he had sat next to, or stood alongside in the aisle.
The property stolen was mainly purses, wallets and mobile phones. On occasion, these items were of great sentimental value, such as a Catholic Rosary blessed by the Pope and photos of deceased relatives stored on a phone.
The Judge described the defendants as ‘cunning’ and noted that victims were chosen because there was little chance of them discovering the theft taking place and minimal risk of them fighting back.
Investigating officer, PC Noël Thompson, of the Roads and Transport Policing Command’s Proactive Team, said: “Dolinski and Glowacki were caught and brought to justice after a prolonged and extensive police investigation.
“This investigation involved working with intelligence departments within the Met using modern day electronic and online techniques, as well as good old fashioned policing in the local community.
“The fact that Dolinski received that length of sentence is testament to the extensive and close work with the CPS following the arrests. The proactive team is very happy with the court result.”