Wheelchair theft woman jailed for cons

Michelle Toth, jailed for 20 months for various thefts, including that of a mobility scooter

Michelle Toth, jailed for 20 months for various thefts, including that of a mobility scooter

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A woman who befriended a disabled woman before posing as a carer and stealing her wheelchair has been jailed.

Michelle Toth, 30, carried out a string of confidence tricks on vulnerable women in the early part of 2015.

On one occasion she conned her way into an 85-year-old woman’s home before abusing her goodwill to steal the widow’s purse.

In a three-month period she stole handbags, purses and keys and was caught trying to steal a TV from a hotel in the resort.

Now she will spend 20 months behind bars after pleading guilty to the thefts at Preston Crown Court.

Mercedeh Jabbari, prosecuting, told the court Toth – a drug addict – befriended the woman in Abingdon Street market when she saw she was struggling with her mobility scooter.

She offered to work for the woman as a carer and cleaner but when she visited her home two weeks later, claimed her legs were hurting and asked to borrow the scooter for half an hour.

Five hours later, Toth had not returned and the scooter was reported stolen. It has never been recovered.

Four days earlier, Toth, of Bute Avenue, North Shore, had knocked on the door of an 85-year-old woman, who lived alone, asking for directions.

The woman allowed her into the house to use the bathroom but when Toth asked for a drink, the pensioner went to the kitchen to get one and Toth stole a £5 note and the woman’s purse.

On May 13 she also walked into a number of houses where young mothers were getting their children ready to go out.

She helped herself to their handbags or purses and if she was caught, claimed to be looking for her nan’s house.

She also stole handbags from chairs on pubs.

Judge Philip Sycamore, sentencing, said: “All these offences involve individuals whose confidence was undermined by what you did and to whom you caused great inconvenience when you gave greater priority to your own drug-related problems.

“It has often been said in these cases that people who are the victims of dishonesty or burglary are left with a lasting sense of insecurity deriving from that which you carried out.

“The common theme in these burglaries and thefts was that they were distraction burglaries where you entered people’s premises.

“There were young mothers with children in the house and you pretended you were looking for your grandmother, using the distraction to take purses and keys. On another occasion there was a grandma watching TV with her granddaughter when you entered.”

Toth pleaded guilty to four counts of theft which were committed in breach of a suspended sentence.

Judge Sycamore sentenced her to 20 months in prison.