East Ham pickpocket jailed

Cut hole in victim’s pocket to steal cash

Just six days before the crime Calvin Vaduva, from East Ham, had committed an almost identical offence in Winchmore Hill, north-London, Luton Crown Court was told.

He said he committed the two offences because he needed cash, as he could not earn a living as a lorry driver while his vehicle was being repaired.

Judge Michael Kay QC told 40 year old Vaduva: “I take an extremely serious view of this sort of offence. Vulnerable individuals were targeted in a pre meditated manner, followed and then jostled to steal their money.”

Simon Ash, prosecuting said the offence on July 27 last year was committed in Luton when a 68-year- old man left Barclays Bank having withdrawn the money from a cash machine.

Vaduva followed him and signaled to three other Romanians to join him. When the victim boarded a bus, Vaduva got in front of him and distracted the bus driver while the other men pushed up against him and one cut through his jumper and shirt pocket to steal the cash and his passport.

They left the bus but cctv footage showed them getting into a BMW car. That vehicle was registered to Vaduva and he was arrested in August. The other gang members have not been caught.

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Vaduva was on bail at the time for the offence committed in London on July 21. There the victim had been a woman on her own who was also followed onto a bus and the same distraction technique was used.

Two men were involved on that occasion, and one of them picked her pocket but only got half of the money she had withdrawn

Vaduva, of Kempton Road, pleaded guilty to one charge of theft. He had previously pleaded guilty to the other theft at Wood Green Crown Court and was given a suspended prison sentence there in June this year.

Saira Faber, defending said Vaduva should have been sentenced for both offences at the same time and urged the court to add other conditions to the suspended sentence as a penalty for the Luton offence.

Judge Kay told the defendant: “I am deeply suspicious about your explanation for offending. If you had no money you could have returned to your family in Romania rather than involving yourself with a gang of pick pockets.”