Dagenham woman jailed for theft spree including £100k of jewellery

Kent Police custody image of Lucretia Stanescu, of Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham.

Lucretia Stanescu, 29, of Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham was jailed for four-and-a-half years. - Credit: Kent Police

A woman from Dagenham has been jailed for 14 distraction thefts across three counties, including £100,000 worth of jewellery from a shop. 

Lucretia Stanescu, of Parsloes Avenue, stole phones and jewellery from shops in six locations across Kent as well as victims in Essex and Warwickshire in September and October this year.

The 29-year-old, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday, December 16.

The court also passed a lifetime order for Stanescu to pay back what she stole in full. 

Detective Sergeant Jay Robinson said: “Lucretia Stanescu used slight-of-hand and distraction tricks, where she would keep staff busy by inquiring about an appointment or product from the shop, then discretely steal any mobile phones left in view by shop staff. 

“Sometimes she would cover the phones with leaflets or her bag first and steal the phones as she picked up the item covering them. 

“It was a well-practised technique which led to her widespread stealing spree.” 

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The Chief Constable’s Crime Squad launched an investigation after jewellery worth £100,000 was stolen from a shop in Tenterden High Street.  

CCTV captured Stanescu picking up a guitar to obscure her actions, before grabbing a bag containing the jewellery.  

She was captured leaving the scene in a red Peugeot, which was stopped by police in Berkshire three days later.

Detectives connected Stanescu to 11 other thefts across Kent, as well as individual offences in Grays and Warwick.

Stanescu used the same modus operandi for much of her offending.

She would attend a shop and distract staff by asking a series of questions while discreetly stealing valuable items. 

Stanescu was captured on CCTV on most occasions, including an incident in Maidstone where she stole a mobile phone from a shop worker’s desk while they gathered leaflets for her.

Det Sgt Robinson said: “Considering people store so much information on their phones, which is important to their lives, Stanescu’s deception would have been impactive on so many people and we take a very dim view of her actions.”