Jailed: Plaistow man who stole £2,000 in cash point distraction thefts
- Credit: Essex Police
A “callous” Plaistow man who targeted elderly cash point users in a series of distraction thefts has been jailed.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Omar Naeem, of Whitwell Road, distracted four people aged between 63 and 81 while they were using a machine outside the Lloyds bank in Loughton.
On each occasion, the 36-year-old claimed that the machine was faulty and that he had failed to withdraw his card, and waved a piece of paper at the victims in order to distract them.
Naeem then used the cash machine to withdraw money from his victims’ accounts, totalling £2,000.
Officers investigating the offences, which took place between October 15 and December 17 last year, were able to identify Naeem from CCTV images.
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He was seen unsuccessfully attempting to distract another person at the cash machine on Feburary 10, and the police were able to pursue him after he fled in a vehicle. He failed to stop for officers, who found the car abandoned in Buckhurst Hill and Naeem nearby.
He was charged and last week, was convicted of two counts of attempted theft, four counts of theft, breach of bail and driving while disqualified.
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Naeem was jailed for a total of two years and two months and also disqualified from driving for two years.
Sergeant Robert Fitt said: “Naeem targeted elderly people who were innocently withdrawing their hard earned cash.
“He tricked them into believing the machine was faulty before confusing the victims and taking their money.
“Each victim has been very supportive and I would like to thank one of them for his kind words - it’s always nice to know people are happy and that we are making a difference.
“I’m pleased to say each victim received a refund and I’d like to thank Lloyds for their help in convicting Naeem, who clearly is a callous crook.”
One of the victims, a 69-year-old man, told how the theft made him feel in a letter to thank the police officers who investigated the case.
He said: “My wife and I are aged 70 later this year and we worked very hard throughout our lives and I cannot express just how upsetting it is that there are people out there that feel entitled to take our money.
“It really makes you feel preyed upon.”