Jail for crime gang who targeted lone women

Court report.
Court report.

Three men and a woman have been jailed after trying to steal from women in Bedford.

Andra Gheorghe, 24, Gabriel Dumitru, 25, Andrei Murgoci, 21, and Marius Stoean, 22, all of Holly Lane, Smethwick in the West Midlands, have been sentenced after pleading guilty to a number of offences at Luton Magistrates’ Court.

The thieving gang first struck in All Hallows, Bedford, just before 1pm last Monday (August 10). They targeted a lone woman and attempted to steal her purse from her bag. The woman caught them in the act and they fled the scene.

They then headed to Tesco in Cardington Road, where they approached another woman in the car park. Two of the culprits asked the woman for help with directions and spread a large map over the windscreen, while another member of the group reached into the car removing the victim’s bank card.

Fortunately staff at Tesco saw the incident and were able to apprehend one of the offenders. The other three ran away but were spotted by a PCSO in Bedford town centre and subsequently arrested.

Investigation Officer Dawn Cook said: “These four individuals took advantage of lone women in an attempt to rob them of their money, working together to distract the victims while the other members of the group stole the bank cards.

“Thanks to the quick thinking of both the staff at Tesco and our own officers we were able to apprehend them quickly and before they targeted anyone else. We’re delighted that they went on to plead guilty and with the custodial sentences they have received, proving that such offences will be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.”

At the time of the incidents, Dumitru, Murgoci, and Gheorghe were on police bail for a similar offence committed in Gloucestershire in July, when they use the bank cards they stole from a woman to buy goods worth more than £1,000 and withdraw £300.

After being apprehended for the Bedfordshire crime, the trio were charged and pleaded guilty to the Gloucestershire offence.

Dumitru, Gheorghe and Murgoci were all jailed for 10 months and each ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge, while Stoean was sentenced to four months and ordered to pay a £80 victim surcharge.