Thief who stole gold medal left victim upset and feeling ‘invaded’

Burnley Magistrates Court
Burnley Magistrates Court

A purse thief who stole an irreplaceable gold medal left his victim upset and feeling “invaded”, a court heard.

Ex-con Adrian Constantin Palanici (32) took the sentimental item, worth £300, when he succumbed to temptation and stole Loretta Reeves’s purse from her wicker bag as she shopped in Aldi in Colne at 11-30am on October 29th.

Palanici took £80 cash and bank and debit cards and tried to get money using one of the cards after throwing the £30 purse away.

The factory packer, who has a record for dishonesty and has served time for theft and going equipped for theft, walked free from court, although a district judge told him he had escaped prison by the “skin of his teeth.”

Palanici, of Spring Street, Nelson, admitted theft of the purse and contents, worth £410. He was given three months in custody, suspended for a year, with a £115 victim surcharge. The defendant was ordered to pay £460 compensation.

Sentencing, District Judge Meirion Lewis-Jones told Palanici he had been “thoroughly dishonest”.

The district judge added: “The effect on her could be long-lasting. She is probably going to feel uncomfortable now when she goes shopping. Take this as a warning. You musn’t do anything stupid like this again.”

Mr Adrian Hollamby (prosecuting), told the hearing when Palanici was arrested, he immediately admitted stealing the purse, said he was sorry and wrong.

Mr Hollamby said because the victim’s bank and debit cards were taken, she was unable to pay her bills and she faced added charges of £50. She ended up borrowing money from her employer.

Mr Glen Smith (defending) said: “It was a momentary act of complete selfishness, meanness. It was not premeditated. Simply, he doesn’t know why he did it. He’s at a loss to explain why. It was a complete lack of thought and selfishness.”