Crack head conman Michael Angelo Sagnibene dupes 97-year-old war veteran out of £2,000 mobility scooter money
A crack addict who befriended a 97-year-old disabled war veteran to steal nearly £2000 of his savings has been jailed.
Michael Angelo Sagnibene, 39, of Hilliers Lane, Beddington, made friends with the former prisoner of war who lived nearby over several months as he plotted to steal his savings to buy a new mobility scooter.
After learning the elderly man kept his bank card and pin number at his carer's house nearby, Sangnibene used a key hidden under the carer's mat to get in and steal them.
He then withdrew £1700 from nearby cash points over several months to feed his drug addiction, taking out between £50 and £250 each time.
Sagnibene would always return the card and pin number to its hiding place before the carer returned home. All the while he would act as Sagnibene's friend, visiting him at his flat.
He was jailed for a total of 20 months at Croydon Crown Court on Thursday for what the Royal British Legion described as his "deprecating abuse of trust."
The 97-year-old victim, who is registered disabled, with limited hearing and restricted mobility due to osteoporosis, had been saving up to replace his old mobility scooter.
Police said his old scooter had suffered from years of wear and tear, and due to its poor condition, his daily journey to his local café for a hot meal was becoming increasingly difficult.
The former German prisoner of war had mustered the strength to make the short journey with the assistance of a metal walking frame, but as he struggles for breath after only a few yards, the scooter was desperately needed.
Detective constable Kate Elson, of Sutton CID, who led the investigation, said Sagnibene's actions and behaviour had caused enormous upset and distress to the victim and his carer, especially in terms of breaching their trust.
Sagnibene told police he used crack - a habit that cost him £20 to £30 every day - and had debts of more than £5,000. Canon Peter Bruinvels, The Royal British Legion country field offficer for Surrey, said the charity was shocked and offered its support to the victim.
Canon Bruinvels said: "We are very sad to hear the news, we would like offer our support to him. This is a risk to older people who are by their very nature trusting people.
This is a dispicable abuse of trust to a man who proudly served our country, and we would like to help him in getting a new scooter."
Can you help the victim? Contact James Pepper on 0208 722 6359 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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