Police are slammed for showing CCTV of smartly-dressed pickpocket preying on elderly Waitrose shoppe3 min read

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Police are slammed for showing CCTV of smartly-dressed pickpocket preying on elderly Waitrose shopper… while protecting crook’s identity by BLURRING face

  • Luilian Vinatoru, 48, from Leicester, was arrested for stealing from a pensioner
  • The incident took place outside a Waitrose store in West Byfleet, Surrey, England
  • Facebook users criticised the force’s decision to blur the perpetrators face

Bhvishya Patel For Mailonline

Police have come under fire after releasing CCTV footage of an elderly man being targeted by a convicted pickpocket – with the criminal’s face blurred. 

The force released the footage yesterday of Luilian Vinatoru, 48, from Leicester, stealing the wallet of a pensioner outside a Waitrose store in West Byfleet, Surrey.

The thief was later stopped by a security guard and arrested on the scene.

During the clip, Vinatoru, who is seen wearing a dark suit and holding a carrier bag, approaches the old man wearing a blue jacket as he leaves the store.

Vinatoru, whose face remains blurred, spots the elderly man leaving the Waitrose store in West Byfleet, Surrey

Vinatoru, whose face remains blurred, spots the elderly man leaving the Waitrose store in West Byfleet, Surrey

Vinatoru, whose face remains blurred, spots the elderly man leaving the Waitrose store in West Byfleet, Surrey

The thief slowly approaches the pensioner from behind before sticking his hand into his left pocket

The thief slowly approaches the pensioner from behind before sticking his hand into his left pocket

The thief slowly approaches the pensioner from behind before sticking his hand into his left pocket

Vinatoru approaches the elderly man from behind and places his left hand into the pensioner’s pocket- later emerging with what appears to be a brown wallet.

The police footage replays and zooms in on the moment the wallet is stolen.    

The thief was arrested on the scene and fined £280 plus £125 in costs and compensation following the incident on December 7 last year.

On Facebook Surrey Police wrote: ‘We’re asking the public to be on guard to protect their pockets following CCTV released which demonstrates how quickly it can take for them to be stolen.

‘The following footage shows CCTV of a pick pocket offence taking place at Waitrose in West Byfleet on Friday, 7 December 2018.

Vinarotu removes what appears to be a brown wallet from the elderly man's left pocket

Vinarotu removes what appears to be a brown wallet from the elderly man's left pocket

Vinarotu removes what appears to be a brown wallet from the elderly man’s left pocket

‘The perpetrator was arrested on the scene after the in-store security guard stopped him, and the subsequent investigation resulted in charges being levied against him.’

But Surrey Police face have come under fire for posting the video of the crime on their social media page with Vinarotu’s face blurred.

Baffled viewers included DK Towner who asked: ‘Question… Why blur out the offender’s face?’

Some users on Facebook criticised the decision to blur the perpetrator's face

Some users on Facebook criticised the decision to blur the perpetrator's face

Some users on Facebook criticised the decision to blur the perpetrator’s face

Neil Farnham-Smith said: ‘Why blur the face. Shame that individual. Might make them think twice about committing crime in the future.’

While Steve Hair wrote: ‘Should show his face.’

Others were outraged that the pickpocket was able to get away with a fine.

Helen Ireland said: ‘A fine won’t deter him he’s going to do again if it’s worth the fine, the gain must be more than a paltry fine.’

In response to the criticism a Surrey Police spokeswoman said: ‘The man was ordered by the court to pay a fine, and we have released the video to the public to highlight how quickly your personal belongings can be taken, and provide safety advice on how to protect yourself and your belongings.

‘This matter has been dealt with by court, and our current policy is that custody images will be released if a person has received 1+ year’s prison sentence or more, or there is a significant threat to public safety.’                                                                

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