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Church pastor conned Elgin Tesco cashier out of £200 by using sleight of hand trick

By Ali Morrison

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A CHURCH pastor who used a sleight of hand trick to fool an Elgin Tesco cashier has been given a one-year supervision order.

THE incident was caught on CCTV at Elgin Tesco.
THE incident was caught on CCTV at Elgin Tesco.

Vasile Rostas (50) admitted using the trick to con the checkout worker out of £200 in cash on September 22, 2020.

Elgin Sheriff Court heard that Rostas, of Hopeman Avenue in Glasgow, had gone to the supermarket at around 8.40pm with his four-year-old daughter.

He purchased two vacuum cleaners for a total cost of £400 and left after completing the transaction.

However, it was discovered the next morning that the tills' takings for the previous day were short by £200.

CCTV footage was examined and Rostas' trick was exposed.

In the footage, Rostas could be seen counting out £400 in notes before handing them to the cashier.

The cashier counted it and put the money into the till but Rostas then asked to have it passed back to him so that he could count it again.

As he did, he was seen removing money from the bottom of the bundle, folding it with his little finger and covering it up with his wallet as he handed the bundle back £200 short.

The cashier then put the money back into the till uncounted after Rostas had distracted them.

Defence solicitor Lesley Graham said that her client was "very sorry" and claimed that Rostas had returned the following day to repay the money.

Ms Graham added that while her client does have previous convictions he currently has no outstanding matters and fully complied with his last community payback order.

Elgin Sheriff Court was told last month that Rostas suffers from "significant health problems" which could make carrying out unpaid work difficult.

Consequently, sentencing was deferred to learn more from social workers and a prison sentence was tabled as a possible option.

However, Sheriff Robert Frazer spared Rostas jail, opting instead to hand him a one-year supervision order and a restriction of liberty order.

Sheriff Frazer added: "I have to take your previous criminal record for dishonest acts not only in this country, but across Europe into account.

"Your record does you no favours. This is a direct alternative to custody."

Rostas will be fitted with an electronic tag to ensure he does not leave his home between the hours of 10.30pm and 7.30am for the next five months.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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