82-year-old Cheltenham woman targeted by distraction thief
A PENSIONER has spoken of how she has lost her confidence since becoming the victim of a distraction thief.
The 82-year-old retired secretary was one of two women in their 80s from Cheltenham to be targeted by Alexandru Bojila, 24.
Bojila was jailed for 32 months on Friday after he admitted watching his two victims enter their PIN at the checkout of Morrisons on Caernarvon Road, following them and stealing their cards, before withdrawing a total of £870.
The 82-year-old grandmother of three, who uses a walking frame, told the Echo she had been shopping with her husband on May 30 when Bojila struck.
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"There was a woman in the trolley bay and as I was walking past, behind my husband, she opened up her wallet to show me it was empty," said the woman, who asked not to be named.
"She said something to me in a language I didn't understand. I shook my head and walked off and sat in the car while my husband loaded up the car.
"I was putting my bank cards away and this woman reappeared. She had £2 and she started offering it to me and I thought she wanted change.
"I got these coins out of my purse when this fellow appeared. He was waving scratch cards at me.
"As I was looking at him, the woman had my cards. She came and went in seconds.
"I didn't know anything for about an hour and a half, when the bank rang, saying my card was being used.
"I was so angry. I was vulnerable. Because she was foreign, I thought she might need help.
"I think we are too trusting in this country. My husband didn't see a thing.
"I had a feeling there was something off about it."
The victim, who lost £290, said: "I was very angry when I found out my card was missing. It left me feeling awfully down and I haven't got over it yet.
"I've lost my confidence, really.
"I was very apprehensive about going to Morrisons again.
"It got to the stage where I couldn't get out of the car."
The second Cheltenham victim, an 84-year-old woman, was in the same supermarket on August 8, entering her PIN at the till.
Bojila followed her home and intentionally distracted her outside her home, where two of her bank cards were stolen.
A total of £580 was taken from her account.
Bojila, of Crowther Street in Park Village, Wolverhampton, also admitted a string of fraud offences carried out in Leominster.
He was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Friday after he admitted the two distraction thefts.
He also admitted 12 counts of fraud by false representation.