Man jailed for ATM scam - Potters Bar

18/06/2015

A Romanian man was jailed for 12 months today, Thursday, 18 June 2015, for trying to steal bank cards from a cash point in Potters Bar.

Florin Ugrutan, aged 24, placed a card trap in the machine at the Nat West bank and fitted a tiny camera to record customers tapping in their PINs. When cards became stuck and the customers left, Ugrutan would be able to retrieve them and have the numbers so he could take out cash. But he was spotted loitering at a bus stop near the bank in Darkes Lane by a publican, who called the police, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Simon Wilshire said a police officer in plain clothes watched Ugrutan, who was arrested after two women customers tried to use the machine. He told the police it was the first time he had tried to steal money in that way.

Ugrutan, of Risdens, Harlow, pleaded guilty to attempted theft and possession of articles for use in fraud on 20 February this year. He had no previous convictions.

Defending, Joanna Gillan said his best mitigation was his guilty plea. She said he had qualified as a chef in Romania but came to the UK after being unable to find work at home. She said he was also struggling to find work in this country and made "an incredibly stupid decision" to try to steal cash after learning how to make a trap card from a friend of a friend. She said he wanted to apologise to the court and the police for wasting their time.

Jailing him Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "This type of offence has become increasingly prevalent. The message needs to go out. If you get caught you are going to get a significant sentence."

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