Hitchin town centre pickpocket jailed

Florea Savu, 42, of no fixed abode in Luton, has been jailed for 12 weeks.

Florea Savu, 42, of no fixed abode in Luton, has been jailed for 12 weeks. - Credit: Archant

A 42-year-old pickpocket who targeted shoppers in Hitchin town centre has been jailed.

Florea Savu, of no fixed address in Luton, stole purses from three women’s bags in late February and early March, while they were shopping in New Look and the Salvation Army charity shop.

Another woman had her mobile phone stolen from her coat pocket while she was in WHSmith.

Savu was spotted acting suspiciously by Hitchin BID’s Town Rangers, who reported her to police.

Using CCTV and intelligence from shops in Market Place, officers identified Savu and arrested her on Tuesday last week, charging her the next day.

Two of the stolen purses were found in Savu’s person when she was arrested, and these have been returned to the victims.

She admitted the four thefts when she appeared before magistrates at Hatfield Remand Court on Wednesday last week, and was jailed for 12 weeks.

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PC Johnie Streeter, of the Hitchin safer neighbourhood team, was the investigating officer in this case.

He said: “Florea Savu was targeting people who were distracted while they were out and about shopping and we will not tolerate this behaviour.

“In Hitchin we have a great relationship with Hitchin BID and our local shops, and it’s great that we can work together as we did in this instance to spot any suspicious behaviour and act upon it if necessary.

“Together we are determined to drive such offences and criminals out of the town.”

He added: “I am delighted with the outcome of this sentencing. I hope that the result sends out a clear warning to anyone else who considers committing such crimes, that you will be robustly dealt with when we catch you and could face a prison sentence.”

Police have issued the following advice to help avoid falling victim to pickpocketing and purse thefts:

• Men should keep their wallet in a front rather than back pocket.

• Use a handbag that closes properly, zipped up, preferably, so it’s harder to open and reach in.

• If you use a handbag with a strap, wear it across your body and not just over one shoulder.

• Use a purse lanyard attaching your phone or purse/wallet to your bag or clothes.

• If you keep your purse in a shopping bag, put it at the bottom and not near the top – and use a shopping bag that can be closed.

• Be as secure with your mobile phone as you would your purse or wallet, and ensure it is put away safely if you use it in the street. You can also register your valuables on the free online property database immobilise.com. That way, police have more chance of being able to return them to you if they’re lost or stolen.

• Report incidents immediately to police on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.

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