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SUSPENDED SENTENCE: Teen who snatched more than £10k of iPhones from Apple store in Watford avoids jail

 Published on: 2nd July 2020   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Romanian teenager who snatched £46,000 worth of iPhones from Apple stores in Watford, Reading and Cambridge was given a 20 month suspended sentence today/Thursday.

Gheorghita Petrache, who has been on remand in Bedford jail since December, told Judge Carolin Wigin: “I just wish to go back to my country. I am very sorry for what I have done. I will never come back.”

The 18-year-old, from Althorp Road, Luton, appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court having pleaded guilty to five thefts.

Prosecutor Daniel Kersh said on January 22 last year (2019), Petrache and another man grabbed £8,492 worth of iPhones from the Apple store in Reading. He was caught at the scene and made full admissions to the police.

While on court bail, on August 9, he and another man pushed a member of staff out of the way at the Apple store in The intu Centre in Watford and got away with £6,693 worth of phones.

On October 11 he and another man grabbed seven more phones, worth £7003, again from the Apple store in the intu centre.

Mr Kersh said Petrache was with four others who stole £13,597 worth of phones from the Apple shop in Cambridge on October 30. Then, on November 6, he was back at the intu centre where he snatched £10,559 worth of phone from the Apple store.

The total value of the phones was £46,344. None have been recovered, said the prosecutor.

David Dainty, defending, said: “There is an organised element behind these offences.” 

He said Petrache was not in charge of the operation.

Mr Dainty said he had already served the equivalent of a 13-month sentence and had made it clear he intended to return to Romania.

Sentencing him to 20 months’ jail suspended for 2 years, Judge Wigin said: “This was a cynical, repeated activity targeting high value goods and travelling from place to place so as to reduce the risk.

“But you have spent the equivalent of 13 months in custody which would have been particularly difficult because of prison conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The appropriate course is a suspended sentence with a substantial period for you to serve if you commit such an offence again.“

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