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Jail for Hagley jewellery shop raider
9:00am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
A BIG Issue seller who stole almost £17,000 worth of jewellery from a small independent trader in Hagley has been jailed.
Career criminal Ion Rostas, aged 34, teamed up with a woman to target expensive items in a locked cabinet at Greville Rossiter in Worcester Road, Worcester Crown Court heard.
He took four gold rings and two bracelets, all made of 18 carat gold, worth £16,963 in the raid.
Judge Toby Hooper described the offence as “an evidently planned and organised distraction theft” and he sentenced Rostas to eight months in prison, and warned him any money made from his criminal activities would be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
He said the impact such a high-value theft would have on a small trader was a significant aggravating feature of the case.
Prosecutor Mary Wallace told the court married father-of-four Rostas, of Cherry Wood Road, Birmingham, had gone into the store at around 4.20pm on March 12 last year with an unnamed woman, and had asked to see some of the items locked in a special cabinet.
When the store owner had his back turned, they took some of the jewellery - and it was not until they left the store and he began to put items back that he realised pieces were missing.
The stolen jewellery, she said, had never been found.
The court heard Rostas has a number of previous convictions, including similar thefts where he had targeted independent jewellers or distracted staff to steal.
And in May of this year, he was convicted of an offence dating back to 2010 where airport officers found him leaving the UK with £20,000 of cash hidden on him.
Devon Small, defending, said Rostas had merely been the distraction, and it was the woman who concocted the plan and "scooped up" the jewellery.
Having been living in the UK for up to four years, he said Rostas had been doing "casual work", largely consisting of selling the Big Issue in Birmingham.
Mr Small added: “He totally regrets his involvement in this.”
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place in the coming months.
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