March 13 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Thursday, January 16, 2014
A pickpocket who followed women Tube passengers from cash machines before helping himself to their purses has been jailed.
Ion Tanase, of High Street, Barkingside, worked with accomplice Ciprian Marasac, of Wood Green, to watch the victims enter PIN numbers so they could take hundreds of pounds from their bank accounts.
Tanase, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday.
British Transport Police said the pair found their first target at Tottenham Court Road station on October 10.
After watching the 30-year-old victim top up her Oyster card, they dipped into her handbag and took her purse while she travelled on the escalator, police said.
They then used the card to withdraw £300 from the woman’s bank account.
Almost a month later, they stalked a 25-year-old woman from the cash machine outside the station and took her purse from her bag as she walked downstairs.
Over several withdrawals, they managed to steal £800.
Tanase and Marasac were arrested on November 26 when a plain clothed police officer noticed them acting suspiciously at an ATM in Charing Cross Road.
Marasac, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at an earlier hearing and was jailed for a year at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in November.
Investigating officer Det Con Mark Connor said: “Their sentence should send a clear message that theft on the London Underground network is completely unacceptable and is taken extremely seriously by BTP.”
He urged Tube passengers to zip up bags and keep valuables hidden to avoid becoming a target for thieves.