Conman used sleight of hand magic tricks to steal jewellery worth £24k

    Mircea Rostas (L) and accomplice at East Street Jewellers in Bedminster, Bristol (Picture: SWNS)

    A Romanian man who used sleight of hand magic tricks to con jewellers out of items worth £24,000 has been jailed.

    Mircea Rostas, 26, targeted eight small jewellery shops across the UK from January to April, including ones in Bristol, Shrewsbury and Hereford.

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    He and an accomplice, who hasn’t been caught, managed to pull off the heists by confusing staff before stealing the items.

    His haul included rings, bracelets and necklaces.

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    Mircea Rostas managed to steal £24,000 worth of jewellery (Picture: SWNS)

    Gemma Gordon, prosecuting, said the pair would show staff how they wanted the items wrapped but then tell them they had Euros and needed to get British money.

    They would leave a £10 deposit but would not return.

    When staff checked the bags or boxes afterwards they realised the valuables were missing.

    Rostas was eventually caught after he was identified on CCTV footage.

    He admitted theft and was jailed for 26 months at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

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    He has been jailed for 26 months (Picture: SWNS)

    Rostas, who was living with his wife and young child in Birmingham, had a previous conviction of fraud in Czech Republic in 2015.

    He moved to the UK last October.

    Judge Jonathan Gosling told Rostas: ‘It was planned and sophisticated and you were aware other jewellers would be tipped-off after each theft.

    ‘You were therefore prepared to travel across the country to steal where people would not be suspicious.’

    Bristol victim Teresa Tremlett, who owns East Street Jewellery with her husband Gary Tremlett, added: ‘It really is a professional job.

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    ‘We have had someone run out before, but never something like this.

    ‘We watched the footage for ages to try and work out what they had done. We have to take our hats off to them, because it is so hard to see.

    ‘It is very frustrating as we’re a small business and for us it pays our mortgage.’

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