A THIEF who targeted an 86-year-old woman in a Chester supermarket before following her home and stealing her bank card is facing deportation.
At Chester Crown Court on Monday, Alin Fota pleaded guilty to theft and four counts of fraud after stealing a pensioner’s bank card and using it to withdraw almost £500 over two days.
Now Fota, a Romanian national, faces deportation after being sentenced to 18 months behind bars for the ‘despicable’ and ‘premeditated’ attack on a pensioner, who he followed home from Morrisons in Bache before stealing her card.
The court heard how, at just after 10.20pm on December 10, the 86-year-old victim, Winifred Collins, was in the store when she was targeted by Fota, who came up behind her while she was entering her pin to pay for her groceries.
Fota, who has lived in Blackledge Street, Bolton, since he moved to the UK in 2008, memorised his victim’s pin before following her to her home and attempting to befriend her.
Simon Mills, prosecuting, said Fota approached Mrs Collins under the guise of asking her for change for the phone box.
“He then appears to try and help her by picking up two of the shopping bags and carrying them into her house,” said Mr Mills.
“She believed that he was helping her, but when he got inside he kept making demands that she give him change so she showed him her purse. He was looking in her purse and had a black wallet in his right hand, this is when she believed that he took 20p and left the house.”
Two days later Mrs Collins went shopping and realised her card was missing. She immediately cancelled it, but not before Fota had used it on four separate occasions, withdrawing a total of £490.72.
Fota, who was working on and off as a mechanic and travelled to Chester looking for full-time employment, has one previous conviction for a similar offence on a lady in her 60s in October.
Keri Evans, defending, said he had moved to the UK in 2008 to work as a mechanic.
She said: “He knows the seriousness of these offences, but the victim made no complaint of any intimidation or threat at any time.”
Fota also pleaded guilty to possessing a forged Romanian driving licence, driving without a licence and driving without insurance after being stopped by police in Derbyshire last year.
Sentencing Fota to six months for the deliberate use of a falsified licence, and 12 months concurrent for the each of the theft and fraud offences, which will run consecutively minus 87 days spent on remand, Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards described his behaviour as ‘disgraceful’.
Judge Edwards said: “The sentence is immediate and you will be subject to automatic deportation when you have completed your sentence.”