A heavily pregnant Slovakian thief who targeted the elderly must remain in custody, a judge ruled yesterday,
Blanca Harvathova, who had been jailed for taking £500 from a pensioner, was refused bail after admitting stealing a purse containing £100 from an 84-year-old woman in east Belfast.
Belfast Magistrates Court heard the 30-year-old had a record for thefts in Slovakia and Germany.
CCTV showed Harvathova, from Glencairn Crescent in Belfast, lifting a purse with £100 in it from a bag belonging to the woman at a fruit shop.
Following the guilty plea defence counsel argued Harvathova's ex-partner had put her under pressure to carry out the thefts.
With her previous jail term nearly completed, the barrister urged District Judge Fiona Bagnall to release his client on bail as she is eight months' pregnant.
But pointing to a third offence that was committed in 2013, Judge Bagnall said Harvathova had used the same modus operandi each time.
Refusing bail, she added: "It appears a very elderly person has been targeted specifically. I have grave concerns in releasing her at this stage."
Harvathova was ordered to remain in custody until she is sentenced next month.