Quick-thinking Ruddington residents have been praised by Nottinghamshire Police after apprehending a man who committed a series of distraction crimes against elderly people.
Dragos Stoica, formerly of Alfreton Road, was arrested in the village on Tuesday 7 November and appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court the next day.
After pleading guilty to six counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft – several of which took place in Ruddington – 29 year old Stoica was sentenced to 9 months in prison and ordered to pay £630 to his victims.
As reported in the November issue of The Rudd, the Parish Council was made aware of a number of incidents in the village at the end of October.
One of the victims, Mrs Gillian Tatman, had £90 taken from her purse after Stoica engaged her in conversation outside the Co-op on 30 October. A further attempted theft occurred outside the chip shop on the same day.
“Have a Go Heroes” intervene
These incidents were followed by an attempted mugging on the High Street on 7 November – but on this occasion, members of the public stepped in and apprehended Stoica, keeping a firm hold on him until the police arrived.
Thankfully, the 77 year old victim was unharmed and the £156 that Stoica had stolen was returned to her, before she was taken home by the police to ensure her safety.
One of our “Have a Go Heroes” is Justin Halpin, who works at Elevate RTC on the High Street. Speaking to the Nottingham Post, he said: “Me and my friend Adam put a hand on his shoulder and then he tried quite violently to push away. A lot of people had gathered saying he had stolen money from the pensioner’s purse.
“We put our hands on his shoulder to restrain him slightly and then he tried to pull away quite aggressively. At which point I put him into a chicken wing lock position and brought him down…I was just quite shocked by the situation and it had to be dealt with quite quickly. I managed to get the lady’s money back.”
Leah Calladine, who was also involved in the apprehension added on Facebook: “If it wasn’t for the three lads that helped, he would’ve got away. Good effort from all and together we got him arrested… Luckily they (the police) came quickly and when they searched him, gave the old lady her money back and found lots more cash on him from previous victims!”
Praise from Notts Police
Further to Stoica’s sentencing, Detective Constable Simon Carter said: “Stoica consistently targeted the elderly, taking advantage of their kind and vulnerable nature. One gentleman even went as far as inviting Stoica into his home to wait whilst he found some change for him.
“Whilst we would never suggest that members of the public put themselves in harm’s way, I want to say a massive thank you to the people who intervened in Ruddington on Tuesday and assisted in detaining the suspect until officers arrived. They are a great credit to their community.”
Please stay vigilant!
Stoica may be behind bars, but other criminals are still at large in our community. So whether you’re at home or out and about in Ruddington, please stay vigilant.
Don’t answer the door at home if you’re not expecting visitors and don’t engage strangers in conversation at any time.
If you have any information about any crimes that have taken place in our village, please call Nottinghamshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.