The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Pickpockets caught stealing €60 jailed for two months; magistrate says society must be protected

Tuesday, 3 October 2017, 15:28 Last update: about 7 years ago

A pair of Bulgarian pickpockets today were given a two-month jail term each, after a police inspector said in court that the current spate of such thefts was harming the public's peace of mind.

Mariana Petrova and Nadezhda Ivanova, aged 23 and 36, were charged before Magistrate Francesco Depasquale.

Inspector Mark Mercieca said the culprits were caught by an undercover police officer in the very act of drawing the cash out of the victim's handbag.

The partners in crime had allegedly visited Malta three times since June. “It is a business,” the inspector said. “These crimes are destroying Malta.”

The two women admitted to the theft, with their lawyer Victor Bugeja suggesting that they should be sent back to Bulgaria, and not to prison.

“Are you going to send them to prison over €60?” he told the court.

The prosecution insisted that the court ought to send out a message to deter future offenders. "The prosecution is insisting on imprisonment. The police in Sliema are facing a huge influx of this type of crime. Both women claimed they were visiting Malta for the first time, but, from my investigations, it transpired that these persons visited Malta three times since June.”

The court ruled that the gravity of the offence was exacerbated because of the fear that such persons may cause to elderly people. It sentenced each of the accused to a two-month effective jail term.

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