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Thief used magician-style sleight of hand at Moray supermarket

By Ali Morrison

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Tesco in Elgin.
Tesco in Elgin.

A fraudster has admitted using a magician-style sleight of hand to steal £200 from the Elgin branch of Tesco.

Vasile Rostas bought two vacuum cleaners from the supermarket in September 2020.

Elgin Sheriff Court heard that at the end of the day's trading one of the store's tills registered that it didn't have as much money as it should.

The CCTV footage was examined and Rostas was seen paying for the vacuum cleaners at 8.40pm that evening.

The 50-year-old could be seen counting out £400 in notes, then handing them towards the cashier.

However, when examined closely, the footage showed something was wrong.

The court was told that Rostas had hooked his little finger around some of the notes at the bottom of the bundle.

Using his wallet to help shield what was happening, he'd then kept hold of them.

To finish he then created a distraction to prevent the cashier from counting the cash herself.

Rostas' solicitor said his client, who walked into the dock with a cane, had numerous health problems which would make it difficult for him to carry out unpaid work for the community.

These include heart issues and epilepsy.

Sheriff David Harvie stated that, rather than unpaid work, prison might be a sentencing option.

However, before making a decision on whether or not to jail Rostas, he wanted to learn more from social workers about the defendant.

Sheriff Harvie added: "Having heard about what must be a rehearsed manoeuvre I want a report."

Rostas' address was given as Hopeman Avenue in Glasgow.

His case was adjourned until November 23.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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