‘Prolific’ pickpocket jailed after targeting women and girls on buses in Redbridge

Iulian Stelica. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Iulian Stelica. Picture: Metropolitan Police - Credit: Archant

A serial pickpocket who targeted women and girls on buses has been jailed for a total of 23 months.

Iulian Stelica, 38, of no fixed abode, targeted victims travelling in Redbridge and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, July 15, after pleading guilty to seven theft offences.

He was given a 20 weeks sentence at a previous hearing at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 3, for a further five offences.

In all but one theft, Stelica targeted women and girls aged between 13 and 35 between February and April, stealing mobile phones from pockets.

The thefts also took place in Enfield, Haringey, Waltham Forest and Newham.

Officers arrested Stelica at Luton Airport, on Wednesday, April 8, where he was about to catch a flight to Romania, following an investigation into CCTV footage for the seven offences.

He was charged the following day and pleaded not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was remanded in custody.

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While in custody, officers linked Stelica to the other five offences and was charged on Tuesday, June 23.

He appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 3, and pleaded guilty to the offences.

He then changed his plea to guilty at the latest hearing at Southwark Crown Court.

Det Supt Adnan Qureshi said: “We are committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in crime.

“This unscrupulous person consciously carried out these theft offences, robbing his victims of their personal possessions and leaving them in a state of worry and misery.

“I would like to ask the public to help us thwart thieves by ensuring they take personal security precautions by keeping their possessions hidden and close to them and always be aware of their surroundings.”

Steve Burton, TfL’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, said: “Our MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command colleagues have done an excellent job catching and prosecuting this prolific thief, leading to this successful sentencing.

“Crime on the bus network has fallen for the ninth year running, and all of our customers have the right to travel without fear of theft.

“We continue to work hard with our policing partners to rid the network of such criminals and keep bus crime at its lowest level.”