Two men who followed an 87-year-old woman who had just withdrawn €2,000 from a bank and distracted her while they stole it from her handbag have been jailed
Robert Malole (43) and Gheorghe Cocos (44) were caught on CCTV observing the woman at the bank and following her to a shop, pharmacy and onto her car.
Cocos approached and asked her to point out a location on a map which obstructed her view of her handbag while the money was stolen.
The court heard gardaí traced the pair through CCTV and by tracing their rental car which they had obtained using their real passports. The men have repaid the money taken from the victim in full.
Malole and Cocos, both with an address at Cardy Rock Ave, Balbriggan, Dublin and originally from Romania, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft at Brackenstown Road, Swords on October 20, 2020.
Malole has nine previous convictions including theft, aggravated theft and fraud. Cocos has three previous convictions and is currently serving a two-year sentence with the final 8 months suspended for theft, which was imposed last month at Bray Circuit Court.
Judge Martin Nolan said this offence was “particularly reprehensible.” He said the men had spotted an opportunity and taken advantage of the woman.
“She tried to help one of them and for her trouble, her money was stolen,” he said. He noted the victim impact statement of the woman handed into court and the effect the offence has had on her.
He said the theft had been by trick, not violence, and noted the men had both been under financial pressure and had come to Ireland to try and help their families financially.
Judge Nolan took into account Malole is currently serving a sentence, due to expire next February, and imposed an eight-month sentence consecutive to his current term.
He imposed a 20 month on Cocos, noting his record was “more comprehensive”.
The court heard the men had pleaded guilty at a very early stage and were remorseful.