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Credit card thief followed pensioner from supermarket to Warwickshire home

A 33-YEAR-OLD who fled the country after targeting an elderly woman for her credit card and pin number has pleaded guilty to theft and fraud.

Adelaida Ioana watched a woman in her 80s enter her pin number in Waitrose, Stratford, before following her home and stealing the card.

Ioana, Warwick Crown Court was told, was arrested but left the country. Almost five years later she was arrested and extradited from Romania.

Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said that in May 2016 Ioana queued behind the elderly woman at Waitrose, moving closer so she could see her pin number. Ioana entered a guilty plea on the basis that the pin was obtained by her partner, who has never been caught, but Mr Simpson said he did not accept that. Ioana paid for a bottle of water and she and her partner followed the pensioner to her car and to her Wilmcote home.

Ioana and her partner approached the woman and her husband with a map and asked for directions. They then followed the couple into the house, asked for a glass of water and, while the couple were distracted, one of them stole the woman’s card from her handbag. They used it at an ATM and a supermarket before it was blocked.

Mr Simpson said that Ioana was traced through ANPR cameras. She was arrested in Romania in March.

Jane Carpenter, defending, said Ioana’s partner at the time, who is believed to be wanted in Canada for fraud, was abusive and controlling. She said he had planned the offence and added that Ioana, who had no previous convictions and had not been in trouble since, was now with a new partner and was expecting her second child.

Sentencing Ioana, of Oakdale Road, Forest Gate, London, to an 18-month community order and a two-month curfew, Judge Peter Cooke told her: “However horrible your boyfriend at the time was, for you to involve yourself in stealing from a vulnerable old lady in such a scheming and devious way was a wicked thing to do.

“You were 28 at the time, and I accept you did it when you were under the influence of a thoroughly bad person. You are now 33, and I hope the young man you are with now is a different sort of person altogether.”

He added: “I am not going to send you to prison for what you did five years ago, but a significant reason for me being lenient is that you are about to have your second child. Even more importantly, your first child is a seven-year-old. Your little girl was two when you did what you did to that old lady, and if you had been dealt with at that time she would not have known anything about it. But if you conduct yourself in this way now, a seven-year-old little girl is going to wonder why mummy is not coming home.”

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