'Unpleasant and Nasty' Thief Targeted Elderly Victims

Followed woman from bank to rob her on St John's Hill, Battersea

Daniel Calinescu
Daniel Calinescu

October 16, 2019

A 42-year-old man has been jailed for 5 years after being found guilty of being a member of a gang which targeted elderly women making large cash withdrawals from banks.

Daniel Calinescu, a Romanian national of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 15 October, to four counts of theft.

The police believe a gang of 4-6 people worked as a group to identify victims who had withdrawn large sums who then then followed and robbed as they were boarding a bus. In two of the offences a razor blade was used to cut open the bag in which the money was contained.

On 9 July this year they stole £2,500 from a 78-year-old woman in St. John’s Hill Battersea. In other cases a 62-year-old woman had £2,500 stolen in Shrewsbury Avenue, Harrow on 19 July, a 73-year-old woman had £1,700 stolen in Barrett’s Grove, Hackney on 29 July and a 72-year-old woman had £4,500 stolen in High Street, Ealing W5 on 20 August.

The other members of the gang remain at large.

The Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) proactive team led the investigation and identified Calinescu through intelligence work. He was arrested on 15 September.

On sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Joanna Korner told Calinescu, “You have pleaded guilty to four counts of theft, the most unpleasant and nasty offences which can be committed within this category of crime. No doubt you were deliberately targeting victims because of their obvious vulnerability. No other punishment is suitable other than immediate imprisonment; it must be of some length to mark public disapproval of people such as yourself and your activities.”

DS Shaun Holyhead of RTPC said: “I am pleased with the conviction and sentence handed down today. We are working hard to identify Calinescu’s associates and other criminals who target Londoners in this way.”