Train suitcase thief jailed
A man who attempted to steal a fellow passenger's suitcase from a train in Charlbury has been sentenced to 15 weeks in prison following a British Transport Police investigation.
Pavel Acasandrei (71), of no fixed abode, was handed the sentenced after pleading guilty to theft at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, 21 February 2012.
PC Bob Burrowes, the Oxford-based investigating officer, said: "On Thursday, 5 January Acasandrei boarded a train at Oxford around 9.30am, where train staff noticed him and observed that he was travelling without luggage.
"He made his way through the carriages and when the train arrived at Charlbury he attempted to leave the service in possession of a large, red suitcase.
"Realising he had not boarded with the case, rail staff alerted police as well as putting out an announcement on the train for passengers to check for any missing luggage. Acasandrei was subsequently arrested by police at Charlbury, where it transpired that a passenger onboard was missing a red suitcase."
Acasandrei was arrested on suspicion of theft and remanded in custody. In interview he claimed to have owned the suitcase since June 2011, however his account of the contents proved to be incorrect.
At his hearing on 10 February he pleaded guilty to theft and to charges of possession of an offensive weapon and theft from a separate incident at London's Waterloo station in August 2011. He was handed a total of 15 weeks' imprisonment for all three offences, taking into account the seven weeks already served while remanded in custody.
PC Burrowes added: "I'm in no doubt that Acasandrei was fully aware of his actions and intended to get away with stealing someone else's property. Fortunately we were able to quickly recover the victim's belongings and return them to him in Herefordshire within a matter of hours.
"I would also like to thank the members of eagle-eyed rail staff whose quick-thinking allowed us to swiftly bring this case to a close."
(from a British Transport Police press release)