A Belfast man faces up to a year in jail after he admitted stealing £150 from a 93-year-old woman’s purse.
A PSNI constable told Belfast Magistrates’ Court that Thomas Stokes, with an address at a hostel on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast, had breached his bail by being in the licensed Shop4u on the Newtownards Road on Thursday morning.
According to the police case, Stokes, 25, followed the pensioner around the shop and lifted her purse out of her bag as it hung on the back of her shopping trolley.
With the woman unaware of what was happening, Stokes took £150 from the woman’s purse before returning the purse to her bag and then walking out of the shop.
His unwitting victim only became aware of the theft when she got to the cash register and discovered that the substantial sum of money was missing.
Police officers who were called to the scene saw the incident clearly on CCTV footage and later that same day, spotted Stokes at a bus stop and arrested him.
During tearful police interviews, he admitted what he had done and asked the police to apologise to his victim on his behalf, claiming he was “desperate” for the money.
When he was arrested, Stokes was found to be in possession of £210 so the police officers handed the stolen £150 back to the lady.
No bail application was lodged with the court so District Judge Ken Nixon remanded Stokes into custody to appear again via video link on July 31.