A SMILING thief who stole £8,000 worth of cosmetics during ‘targeted’ raids on Worcester’s Boots store during the Covid-19 crisis is due to be sentenced tomorrow.

In total Cornel Gheorghe stole £8,226 worth of high value cosmetics from the chemist’s in the High Street in Worcester, sweeping the shelves into a bag during three separate raids in under two weeks. The 34-year-old is due to be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court by Judge Nicolas Cartwright tomorrow morning.

We reported last November how the defendant grinned at the city’s magistrates court as as he admitted three offences of theft, relaying his guilty pleas through a Romanian interpreter when he appeared before magistrates in Worcester on Thursday.

The first theft took place on October 19 last year when he stole £4,494 of cosmetic items. Further thefts from the same shop followed on October 26 when he stole £2,748 of cosmetics and November 2 when he stole £984 of cosmetics.

Shafquat Reaz, prosecuting, said: “The defendant has targeted that store in particular and has taken cosmetics of a high value.”

The prosecutor argued that the case was so serious it should be dealt with at crown court, telling magistrates it involved the theft of items worth over £7,000 and that the offences were aggravated by his persistence in targeting the shop.

Although he said Gheorghe had no previous convictions he argued that ‘the nature and tenacity of these offences place it outside the jurisdiction of the magistrates court’.

Despite the defendant operating alone, he invited the bench to consider the ‘gravity of the offences’ and that the shop was being managed by a restricted number of staff during the pandemic.

Mr Reaz said: “He targets high value goods. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” Arguing that the thefts were ‘not merely opportunistic’, he added: “Who pays the cost? We do.”