A woman has been jailed at Poole Magistrates’ Court on 17 February to a number of purse thefts and one count of fraud by false representation.
Ivalina Hristova, 34 and of St Michael’s Road in Bournemouth, pleaded guilty at Poole Magistrates’ Court on 17 February to 14 counts of theft and one count of fraud by false representation. She was handed a 20-month prison sentence at Bournemouth Crown Court on 12 April.
The court heard that on 25 January 2017 Hristova targeted elderly female shoppers in the High Street and Ashley Road in Poole as well as the Dolphin Shopping Centre.
Towards the end of 2016, she also preyed on her victims in a number of stores in Bournemouth and Weymouth.
Some of the thefts were captured on CCTV. On one occasion where the victim’s PIN was with her bank card, Hristova fraudulently obtained money from a cash machine, the court heard.
After Hristova was identified as a suspect, efforts were made by police to arrest her. She was eventually arrested at Stansted Airport on Thursday 9 February 2017 after returning to the UK from Bulgaria and taken to Bournemouth police station to be interviewed.
Deputy Neighbourhood Inspector Steve Houston, of Poole police, said: “Hristova engaged in a campaign of purse thefts across the county, systematically targeting elderly women with cold, brutal efficiency and showed no remorse for her actions.
“She would pretend to browse for goods, bump into her victim and simultaneously take her purse or bag. Hristova would then often remove the cash and dump the purse or handbag nearby.
“So confident and well-disciplined was she in her methods, she would target multiple stores and victims in one area within a short space of time.
“I would like to praise the combined efforts of the Christchurch, Poole and Bournemouth Neighbourhood Policing Teams, particularly Police Constable Sian Dibley, Detective Constable Mark Holmes of Bournemouth CID and the PCSOs involved.
“Dorset Police will not tolerate this behaviour in our communities and I am pleased that Hristova has been brought to justice.”