A care worker and her boyfriend have been jailed after stealing a disabled pensioner’s bank card and going on a shopping spree that drained his £3,000 life savings – leaving him with just £4.71.
Samantha Hughes snatched the 76-year-old’s debit card from his flat in Manor House residential home in Great Barr, where she worked as a care assistant.
It is understood the 30-year-old, from Petersham Road, Kingstanding, found the card beneath a seat cushion, where the pensioner left it for ‘safe keeping’. But rather than hand it back she went on a three-day shopping spree along with boyfriend Steven Reid, 42, from Wootton Grove, Kingstanding, a court heard.
They withdrew £1,100 in cash and also used the card to buy a TV, bed, car accessories, clothes and vitamin pills, as they wiped out the pensioner’s £3,000 savings in little over 72 hours.
The victim, who has chronic arthritis, noticed his card missing on January 19, five days after Hughes had taken it, and reported it to the bank and then police. But by that stage only £4.71 remained in his account.
West Midlands Police officers analysed CCTV taken from stores and cash points visited by the couple and identified Reid leaving GSF car parts, off Fort Parkway, on January 15 having bought accessories worth £241.
The car was traced to his address, and on February 13 police searched the property. They found a TV still in its packaging. Hughes’ address was later searched where officers found receipts for clothing bought using the savings. Both pleaded guilty to charges of theft and were this week each sentenced to 10 months in jail at Birmingham Crown Court.
Investigating officer Pc Daniel Pugh, said: “This is a heartbreaking case. An elderly gentleman has had his savings cleaned out by a couple driven purely by greed. Hughes had been working at the care home for several years and was a trusted member of staff, but she found the card and PIN number and couldn’t resist the opportunity to go shopping with this vulnerable man’s money.”
Reid claimed to have found the bank card in the Amblecote Avenue care home’s car park on January 14, and told interviewing officers he would ‘chance his luck’ by seeing if the card worked and had accessible funds.
Pc Pugh, added: “They knew the card belonged to a disabled man and that he wasn’t a wealthy man with money to burn. At no stage did they feel guilt or any compassion towards their victim.”