A man who posed as a doorstep charity collector to sexually assault and steal from residents has been jailed after officers from West Midlands Police traced him to Romania.
Vaseli Baicu assaulted five women aged from 18 to 81 in July 2018 having knocked at their doors in Coventry with a clipboard and sponsorship forms claiming to be fundraising for a disability group.
The 26-year-old forced himself on victims, kissing them on the lips and touching them inappropriately over their clothing.
On two occasions he entered homes and swiped a mobile phone, purse, jewellery and a pension card when his victims’ backs were turned.
Detectives identified Baicu as the prime suspect after CCTV enquiries revealed a vehicle used by him to drive to offence locations.
They found he’d fled the country at some point before 25 July but working with Interpol managed to track his movements around Europe for more than a year while the investigation continued at home.
He triggered an alert after crossing the Swedish-Danish border where he was detained by police in Denmark. Officers from Coventry Police travelled to Denmark to escort him back to the UK on 19 November last year.
Forensics specialists recovered Baicu’s fingerprints from a jewellery box and a charity sponsorship form he’d dropped in the street.
He went on to admit five counts of sexual assault, two counts of burglary and fraud between 2 and 21 July − and at Leamington Justice Centre yesterday (21 Jan) he was jailed for six years and three months.
Detective Constable Mel Oldershaw from Coventry Police, said: “This was a really complex investigation and turned into a ‘Catch me if you Can’ police hunt as we monitored his movements in Europe.
“We issued a European Arrest Warrant for him but he managed to evade capture and we suspect passed through some border checkpoints undetected.
“But when police in Denmark alerted us when he tried entering the country from Sweden he was arrested and returned to the UK to face justice.
“He committed some really awful offences, at times targeting elderly women, and we were determined he wouldn’t get away.”