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13 December 2013, 09:34
A prolific pickpocket who targeted 15 elderly women in Peterborough has been jailed and banned from entering the city for 10 years.
Edita Janoviciene, 44, travelled to the city from her home in Shetland Avenue, Corby, Northants, where she was a well-known thief after being convicted of numerous offences.
She targeted elderly women, following them around shops before dipping her hand into their handbag to steal their purse. She would then remove cash and bank cards before dumping the purse in a bin.
Where victims had left PIN numbers in their purses she would quickly withdraw cash from a nearby ATM.
She is believed to have stolen about £4,000 in total from victims in Peterborough withdrawing cash from ATMs in the city, Oundle, Kettering and Corby between June and October.
However, officers identified her from CCTV - then liaised with officers in Northamptonshire.
A plain-clothed operation was then set up to catch her and she was arrested in Bridge Street on October 30.
She admitted four counts of theft and asked for a further 11 thefts and two charges of fraud by false representation to be taken into consideration.
At Peterborough Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) she was jailed for two years and given a 10-year anti-social behaviour order banning her from entering the city or being in any shop in Cambridgeshire.
The court also ordered her 54-plate Mitsubishi Space Star be sold and the proceeds split between her victims.
PC Emily Beckett said: "This has been a long and complex investigation but through hard work and determination she was caught.
"Janoviciene is a skilled and experienced thief who has caused great distress to her victims, some of who have lost irreplaceable personal items and now cannot face coming into the city.
"It has been very rewarding to be able to tell 15 victims of crime that the person responsible has been caught and sent to prison. I am grateful to colleagues in Northamptonshire who assisted us with enquiries.
"We want Peterborough to be a safe place to live, work and shop. This type of crime will not be tolerated and we will make every effort to bring offenders to justice. However, this should serve as a reminder to others not to carry large amounts of cash or keep PIN numbers or irreplaceable items of sentimental value in their purse."
Pickpocketing is one strand of the force's Get Closer to Christmas campaign.