Romanian fraudster who preyed on elderly Cirencester residents spared jail sentence
A ROMANIAN man who targeted elderly Cotswold residents in a spate of bank card thefts that left them hundreds of pounds out of pocket has been spared a jail sentence.
Remus Hangalet, 31, who lives in Birmingham, was given a 12 month suspended sentence following two years on the run from the law.
The court heard how Hangalet and one other man took £1,200 from 74-year-old James Mallinson of Cirencester after stealing his bank card on October 6 2011.
The defendants followed Mr Mallinson around the Cirencester branch of Waitrose before carefully watching the pensioner enter his pin number as he paid.
The two men then followed Mr Mallinson back to his home address before approaching him with a map and asking him for directions to London.
They also asked him for two ten pound notes in exchange for a twenty, which Mr Mallinson did.
Mr Mallinson quickly discovered that his bank card had been stolen and over £1,000 withdrawn from his account.
Sharon Jomaa, prosecuting, also told the court that Hangalet had stolen £480 in the same manner from a 77-year-old woman in Stroud only days before.
Hangalet was arrested by police on October 13 2011 and subsequently bailed but quickly left the country, missing his hearing on November 10 2011.
The defendant, who wore a checkered shirt in court, apologised numerous times in between his guilty pleas for the charges of fraud, theft, handling stolen goods and failing to surrender.
Mohammed Iqbal, defending, told the Magistrates: “My client pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He has been on and off in the UK for seven years but this is the first time that he has been before the courts and the first time he has been arrested.”
Hangalet wept in the dock as magistrate Michael Caley told him that he had saved him a custodial sentence.
He said: “You committed serious and nasty offences on a number of vulnerable people.
“You were very, very close to going to custody. It was only through your remorse and cooperation with the police that you’re not going to prison.”