Distraction thieves jailed - St Albans and Hemel Hempstead

01/03/2016

Two Romanian distraction thieves, who targeted elderly victims in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, were told by a judge today, Tuesday, 01 March 2016, that he hopes the Home Office deports them.

Judge John Plumstead jailed Andreea-Larisa Dirvareanu, aged 20, for 3 years and her co-defendant Aurel Ioan, aged 28, to 16 months, telling them their presence in the UK is "most undesirable."

Prosecutor Edward Renvoize told St Albans Crown Court that a 69-year-old woman was followed from Barclays Bank in St Albans on 1 July last year by Dirvareanu and another man. In Townsend Avenue she asked the victim for directions to the station, while her accomplice stole the woman's purse from her shopping trolley. The victim saw what happened and he handed it back.

Five days later, Dirvareanu and Ioan targeted an 88-year-old man, again in Barclays Bank in St Albans. She went to help him at the cashpoint, then at the bus stop she jumped in front of him and asked the bus driver the way to the station. Ioan pushed against the victim and stole his bank card. More than £2000 was taken from his account.

Then a 94-year-old man was approached by Dirvareanu and Ioan on 5 August in Barclays Bank in Hemel Hempstead. She offered to help him at the cashpoint. He was followed back to his car by the two defendants. They ripped open his coat and stole his wallet. £2,200 was taken from his account.

Dirvareanu, of Norfolk Road, Walthamstow, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft. She had previous convictions in France, Spain and Germany.

Ioan, of Melbourne Road, Leyton, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft. He had one previous conviction for shoplifting in the UK from 2010, when he was jailed for 8 weeks.

For Ioan, Daniel Fugallo said he felt "shame and remorse." He said he had been working as a warehouseman until last year, when he lost his job. Mr Fugallo said it was likely that he would be considered for deportation back to Romania, where he has a wife.

Flavia Kenyon, for Dirvareanu, said she was still young and hoped she would change her ways in time. "She wishes to return to Romania and has asked for voluntary deportation," she said.

Judge Plumstead told them: "This is despicable and shameful conduct targeted at the old who, in most societies, are regarded as deserving respect and care. They are not there to be exploited, bullied and cheated." He said crimes like these on the elderly undermine their confidence. Dirvareanu, said the Judge, had progressed her way around Europe offending by abusing freedom of movement. He told the defendants: "I hope the Home Office agree with me that your presence in the United Kingdom is most undesirable."

Please note - all court copies are provided by South Beds News Agency, who retain the copyright for all articles published.