A group of Romanian woman stole nearly £6,000 worth of perfume in a shoplifting spree across the Midlands – prompting fears they have been exploited.
The gang, from Birmingham, hit stores in Telford, Bristol and Worcester plundering their biggest haul in John Lewis.
When caught they claimed the thefts were ‘spur of the moment’ because they had no money of them. One of them even pleaded naivety saying she did not realise stealing was a crime.
Two of the women, Angelica Marin, aged 18 and Samariteanca Bucurestean, aged 24 – both mothers to three children – were handed community orders at Birmingham Crown Court, on Friday, October 9.
Judge Sarah Buckingham stated her suspicion that the pair were being influenced by other people but stopped short of classing them as modern slavery victims.
Prosecutor Alison Scott-Jones said: “The case concerns a group of women travelling around the country visiting busy shopping venues and blatantly stealing large quantities of expensive perfume from large shops and stores. There were a number of common features
“There was little attempt at subterfuge and concealment. When they were apprehended a similar narrative was given by the defendants, that they were shopping with friends, they had no intention of stealing, it was a spur of the moment decision and they had no money on them.
“Immediately when they were arrested they made admissions and expressed remorse.”
Marin’s first offence took place when she targeted Debenhams on Worcester High Street on November 28 last year, along with 22-year-old Daniella Stoian.
Both went straight to the fragrance section and stashed £168 worth of perfume in their bags. They left through a back exit but were stopped and detained. Stoian was sentenced in the city’s magistrates’ court earlier this year for the incident and fined £80.
Marin was on bail for the incident when she targeted Boots in Telford on December 21, this time with accomplice Maria Radu. They swiped £1,450 worth of fragrances and went to leave before being stopped by a security guard. At that point Marin became abusive and struggled before being escorted back inside the store where she punched him in the face. Radu was handed an eight-month suspended sentence earlier this year for theft offences as well as obstructing a police officer.
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