'Professional pickpocket' preyed on mums distracted by their children in shops

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
Police have warned Birmingham shoppers to be vigilant after Pansella Radu was caught repeatedly pickpocketing. (SWNS/West Midlands Police)
Police have warned Birmingham shoppers to be vigilant after Pansella Radu was caught repeatedly pickpocketing. (SWNS/West Midlands Police)

A pregnant pickpocket who stole purses from Birmingham’s mothers as they cared for their babies is facing deportation.

Pansella Radu would steal their valuables while the women became distracted by their infants as they shopped in children’s sections.

The 20-year-old Romanian has racked up 11 convictions and a caution in the past year, including several pickpocketing offences and frauds involving stolen bank cards.

Police have issued her photo to warn mothers and shoppers to be vigilant, and officers are trying to deport her.

PC Mat Evans said: “Radu was heavily pregnant during the offences and used this to help her blend in while looking for victims in the children’s section of shops.

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“She callously targeted mums who were distracted with babies – and struck during the few months visitors were able to come into Birmingham last year between the COVID-19 lockdowns.”

Radu stole a handbag as she went “prowling” in a Marks and Spencer children’s section on 5 September, West Midlands Police said.

She was bailed but swiped a purse from the back of a pushchair in Primark on 4 December while she awaited a court appearance.

The victim managed to wrestle the purse back and security staff detained the pickpocket.

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A general view of Birmingham Crown Court in Birmingham, West Midlands.
Radu was given a community order at Birmingham Crown Court. (PA)

Radu was charged with theft but, after being bailed the next day, she walked into JD Sports minutes after leaving court and stole another purse from a pushchair.

She was arrested on 14 December and given a 12-month community order and 20-day rehabilitation order at Birmingham Crown Court.

“Radu is a professional pickpocket who despite only having been in the UK for 12 months has racked up a large number of convictions,” PC Evans said.

“She has shown no remorse for her victims and not paid any compensation.

“I will be pursuing her deportation through Immigration following these latest convictions.”

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