Thursday, June 13, 2024

Persistent shoplifter banned from three supermarket chains across Essex for three years

A PERSISTENT shoplifter has been banned from all Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores in Essex for three years.

Laurentiu-Mihai Stroe, 23,  stole more than £3,500 of alcohol and attempted to steal £571 more as he targeted stores in Epping and Harlow.

He was arrested with an accomplice on 10 February by an officer from Harlow Local Policing Team who had been alerted by security staff via the Townlink radio system. 

Basildon magistrates were told at a hearing on 29 March 2023 it had been their third offence of the day. 

Stroe, of St John’s Road, Wembley, admitted five thefts from supermarkets and one of attempted theft, between 19 October 2022 and 10 February 2023.

He was issued with a three-year criminal behaviour order which prohibits him from entering any Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores in Essex for any reason during that time. He was also jailed for a total of eight months and ordered to pay a total of £200 compensation. 

His accomplice on 10 February 2023 was Aramis-Gilberto Mihai, 20, of no fixed address, who had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two thefts from supermarkets, involving more than £2,100 of alcohol, and one attempted theft involving £571 of alcohol.

Mihai, who was found by police hiding in the toilets of a nearby restaurant after he ran off from Asda in The Watergardens, Harlow, was sentenced by Chelmsford magistrates on 11 February 2023. He was ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and to pay £105 costs and a £114 victim surcharge.

PC Alex Plakhtienko, of our Business Crime Team, worked with Harlow Community Policing Team to secure the convictions. He said after the hearing: “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. It can cause fear in shop staff and affects the business itself and customers, who may pay higher prices as a result of this criminal activity.

“We seek the application of criminal behaviour orders from the courts for prolific offenders to tackle their offending and to protect businesses, staff and customers alike. There are serious penalties for breaching them.  

“A countywide ban from three supermarket chains is quite unusual but Stroe was stealing large quantities of alcohol and so the court clearly thought it was necessary to continue to disrupt his offending when he is released from prison.”

Basildon magistrates heard Stroe had been identified by Tesco security staff in Epping High Road on 19 October 2022 after he stole spirits totalling £448, re-entering the store several times to do so.

He targeted the store again several times on 24 November, de-tagging approximately 30 bottles of spirits, valued at £950, and smuggling them out in his coat.

Stroe returned again on 10 February 2023, this time with Mihai. Having concealed various bottles of alcohol, valued at £571, in a trolley, they were spotted by security staff and left without the trolley.

Just two hours later they were in Asda in The Watergardens, Harlow, again removing tags from bottles of alcohol and piling the bottles, valued at £1,318, into a trolley. Stroe distracted security staff while Mihai wheeled the trolley away.

An hour after that, they returned and stole alcohol, valued at £800. This time, they were stopped by security staff but ran off. However, the staff alerted police via the Townlink radio system and a police officer arrested Stroe after a quick chase on foot. A colleague located Mihai hiding in nearby toilets shortly afterwards and arrested him, too.

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