A man who, along with an accomplice, tracked a 72-year-old woman home from Lidl after clocking her bank card pin, stole the card, and withdrew €700 from her bank account in what a judge later described as a “low and wicked crime” that involved “malevolent surveillance”.
Daniel Iulian Teutoc, who has no address in Ireland, pleaded guilty to the charge of the theft of the bank card from the pensioner’s car while his female accomplice distracted her by asking for directions. He also pleaded guilty to the theft of €700 by withdrawing money using the bank card.
Bandon District Court heard that Teutoc, aged 32, was arrested when he flew back from Romania two weeks ago.
Another charge of attempting unsuccessfully to withdraw more than €900 from a post office using the bank card was withdrawn on his guilty plea to the other charges.
Garda David Kelly told Judge James McNulty that, after 10am on April 25, 2019, the injured party was doing some shopping in Lidl in Kinsale, where she was observed by Teutoc and his accomplice entering the pin code for her bank card.
The pair then followed the woman some 3km back to her home, when Teutoc’s companion distracted her by asking for directions. Teutoc then went into the woman’s car and took the bank card.
Garda Kelly said the woman was not left out of pocket as Bank of Ireland covered the €700 that was taken, adding that there had been no offer of money from Teutoc.
The court heard that he had no previous convictions on record in this country and had a partner and a young child back in Romania. Sergeant Paul Kelly said he believed that Teutoc, while not having a permanent address in Ireland, was a regular visitor here.
Judge McNulty said it was a “grave crime” carried out in a predatory manner against a very vulnerable person who was out shopping in a local supermarket.
“It was not a spontaneous moment of weakness kind of theft,” the judge said.
Instead it was a calculated crime, by the distraction of an elderly person, committed with the assistance of an accomplice.
Judge McNulty referred to the “malevolent surveillance” which led to the pair getting the card pin, adding that the matter was too serious to be dealt with by fines or through a community service order.
The judge said that, to mark what he called “this low and wicked crime” and to deter others who might engage in similar offending, he was sentencing Teutoc to 10 months in prison, the sentences to be served concurrently.
Recognisance for any appeal was set at Teutoc’s own bond of €1,000, all in cash, and one independent surety to be approved by the court of €5,000, 40% in cash.