Three pickpockets jailed for targeting elderly in Newham
- Credit: Archant
Prolific Romanian pickpockets who flew to the UK to targeted elderly and vulnerable victims in Redbridge, Newham and Barking and Dagenham have been jailed.
Nuti Baeram, 39 of no fixed address, Antonivici Duduianu, 43, of no fixed address and Liviu George Bocaca, 27, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, November 30.
The court heard how an investigation by the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) into thefts on the bus network identified two men and a woman carrying out distraction pickpocketing.
After trawling through CCTV footage between January and August this year, officers discovered that the trio primarily targeted elderly and vulnerable victims - the eldest being 93-years-old.
Their tactics involved one of them offering to help a victim on or off of a bus while an accomplice either blocked the aisle or caused a backlog to prevent other people getting on.
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Whilst distracted, one member of the group would pickpocket the victim.
Other distraction methods including placing a scarf over the victim’s handbag and in the majority of thefts, cash, bank cards and mobile phones were taken.
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Det Sgt Shaun Holyhead, from the RTPC, said: “It is thought that the three defendants flew to and from the UK in order to carry out their crimes in the hope that they would be untraceable.
“However, with the extensive CCTV coverage on London buses, we were able to identify them, and with the vast amount of evidence, they had no choice but to plead guilty.
“The callousness they showed in targeting the elderly is truly shocking. In some of their crimes, they took what might appear to some, to be a small amount of cash, but to their victims, it was significant and would have impacted on their lives.
“I hope their convictions will act as a deterrent to others who are intent on using the transport network to commit crime that they stand a very good chance of being caught and jailed.”
Baeram, and Duduianu were sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for 19 offences over an eight-month period.
Bocaca, who pleaded guilty to four of the same offences, was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
A Met Police spokesman said as Londoners begin to enjoy the festivities in the build-up to Christmas, these convictions should act as a reminder that pickpockets and thieves will try to prey on people in bustling areas and crowded transport.
“We would encourage people to remain vigilant and keep bags securely closed,” he said.
“Further crime prevention advice is available via our website met.police.uk.”