Manchester – A Romanian migrant went on a ten-day pickpocketing spree after quitting her job because it was ‘too hard’.
Maria Spirache, 20, and an accomplice posed as charity workers to steal jewellery and mobile phones – and tricked victims into withdrawing money from ATMs.
The pair ambushed members of the public, many elderly, in cafes or while making deposits inside banks in Manchester city centre last January.
In one case, a dementia sufferer out with his carer lost £200 when they were distracted by Spirache at a cashpoint, Manchester Crown Court heard.
In another, a Chinese student at Manchester University, who was about to deposit £8,600 in cash he had saved for his accommodation and tuition fees, was fleeced of £2,000 after being asked by Spirache to sign a fake fundraising form.
When Spirache was arrested, she told police she had had a job in Britain but resigned because it was too difficult.
She was locked up for 32 months in a young offenders’ institution for ten offences of theft, two of attempted theft, and attempted shoplifting.
Judge Hilary Manley told Spirache: "These were planned, organised and despicable offences. This was professional thieving where you were preying, in some cases, on the most vulnerable of others".
Police are still hunting for her cousin, Elizabetta Stan, who is believed to have been her accomplice.