A man has been jailed for stealing £11,200 from elderly victims in London.
Daniel Calinescu, 42, a Romanian national of no fixed abode in the UK pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 15 October, to four counts of theft. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
This defendant worked as part of a group of between four and six individuals. Enquiries are ongoing to identify and bring to justice the other members of the group.
Met officers linked incidents in which a 78-year-old woman had £2,500 stolen in St John’s Hill, Battersea on 9 July, a 62-year-old woman had £2,500 stolen in Shrewsbury Avenue, Harrow on 19 July, a 73-year-old woman had £1,700 stolen in Barrett’s Grove, Hackney on 29 July and a 72-year-old woman had £4,500 stolen in High Street, Ealing W5 on 20 August.
In each case, Calinescu watched elderly and vulnerable people withdraw large sums of money over the counter at banks. He then followed them as they walked away and stole the cash from each victim as she was boarding a bus. On two of these occasions a razor blade or knife was used to slash the victim’s bag to steal the cash.
The Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) proactive team led the investigation and identified Calinescu through intelligence work. He was arrested on 15 September.
On sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Joanna Korner told Calinescu: “You have pleaded guilty to four counts of theft, the most unpleasant and nasty offences which can be committed within this category of crime. No doubt you were deliberately targeting victims because of their obvious vulnerability. No other punishment is suitable other than immediate imprisonment; it must be of some length to mark public disapproval of people such as yourself and your activities.
DS Shaun Holyhead of RTPC said: “I am pleased with the conviction and sentence handed down today. We are working hard to identify Calinescu’s associates and other criminals who target Londoners in this way.”