Pickpocket jailed - Waltham Cross


A Romanian pickpocket, who targeted three elderly men in Waltham Cross, was jailed for 12 months today, Wednesday, 13 January 2016.

Nikolai Ciobotaru, aged 62, and an accomplice got away with £10,000, made up of cash, and money taken from the victims' bank accounts in March 2013.

He went back to Romania in 2013 and was not arrested until last month when he returned to the UK to get treatment for a cancerous tumour on the NHS, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Michael Speak, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on 1 March 2013, Ciobotaru stole £1600 from a man in Waltham Cross. The 74-year-old victim had gone to the Nationwide in Waltham Cross with his 80-year-old sister, who had withdrawn the cash. As they left, a man pushed past the victim, who was recovering from a heart attack, and he was pick pocketed. The theft was captured on CCTV.

Three days later a 71-year-old man was leaving Wickes in the town when he had his wallet stolen by a man who helped him carry two planks of wood. He did not realise the wallet was missing until the next day, when £6,050 had been taken from his accounts.

Then on 11 March, an 81-year-old man, who had been to Sainsbury's and the Halifax, was distracted by a trickster who grabbed his watch and asked for the time. The next day he realised his wallet had gone. Over £2,500 was taken.

Ciobotaru, of Western Road, London, a father of six, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. He had one caution in the UK from January 2013 for attempted theft. A co-defendant was never charged.

Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "Vulnerable victims were targeted. They were elderly and less likely to spot what was going on."

The Judge said that by passing a 12-month sentence, the Border Agency would be able to put him on a plane to Romania in 5 months' time.

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