Jailed: Thieves who stole from woman, 73, as she shopped in Morrisons
PUBLISHED: 17:57 09 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:30 10 August 2018
A pair of thieves who laughed at their hearing have been jailed after targeting a “vulnerable” pensioner.
Vasile Raducanu and Ioana Haralamb both of Gainsborough Road, Dagenham, were sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for stealing bank cards and £180 from their 73-year-old victim at Morrisons supermarket on July 30.
Barkingside Magistrates Court heard how the elderly woman was shopping for flowers in the Wood Lane store when Haralamb shoved a bunch in her face saying, “Fruit, fruit”.
Raducanu then asked: “Fruit?”
The pair fled before the victim realised her purse was stolen, but were later caught by police in Becontree Avenue from where the cards were retrieved from under a van.
In a statement read in court, the victim said: “It’s the first time something like this has happened. It has made me scared to interact with people. I feel nervous when my doorbell rings.
“Since this incident my mental health has worsened. I have begun to feel anxious.”
The court heard mother of two Haralamb had only been in the country five days at the time of the theft. She shrugged her shoulders when asked why she hadn’t set a better example.
She admitted the theft but said the woman’s purse “was practically on the floor already” in a bid to wriggle out of responsibility.
And the court heard that cousins Haralamb, 23, and Raducanu, 21 – who both pleaded guilty – had laughed with relatives during their first appearance in front of magistrates.
Sentencing the pair, district judge Gary Lucie said: “This is a serious offence. One of you had only been in the country a few days. The other has been here long enough to know this is not tolerated.
“You used a sophisticated distraction technique and targeted the victim because of her vulnerability.
“The offence is aggravated because of the emotional distress you caused the lady – the fear and loss of confidence.
“I’m suspicious about the amount of remorse you have genuinely shown,” he added.
The pair were told they would serve 12 weeks behind bars and 12 out on licence. They were ordered to pay £150 compensation each.