A HEARTLESS thief who pounced on a vulnerable pensioner and robbed him of thousands of pounds has been jailed.
Callous John Thomas targeted 76-year-old David Glen after his victim, who suffers from poor posture and has to stoop forward when he walks, had sat down on a bench for a rest.
Moments earlier, Mr Glen had withdrawn a large sum of money from a town centre bank.
Notorious thief Thomas, 27, who has 20 previous convictions for dishonesty, took advantage of Mr Glen by sneaking up on him from behind and snatching the cash from his pocket.
A horrified passer-by who had witnessed the robbery alerted the police but the dirty rat managed to escape with £2,400.
Mr Glen told Paisley Sheriff Court that his assailant had been sitting on a nearby bench and got up as if to walk away but then managed to grab an envelope containing the cash from his jacket.
Thomas denied the offence after he was arrested by the police and this meant his elderly victim had to go through the ordeal of giving evidence in court.
Due to his mobility difficulties, Mr Glen was allowed to be seated as he gave evidence from the witness box.
At first, he identified Thomas as the man responsible for the robbery but, under cross examination, he said he doubted if the accused was the man who had targeted him, stating that the suspect was tall and had short hair.
A woman who had been walking in Ludovic Square, Johnstone, where the incident took place, told the court she had heard a commotion and saw a man wearing a Rangers football top bend over the elderly victim and put his hand in the OAP’s pocket.
She added that the man ran off with a “chunky” brown envelope in his hand.
Asked if she could identify the person who had committed the offence, the witness added: “Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what he looked like – only what he was wearing.”
When she spoke to the thief’s elderly victim and learned he had been robbed, she dialled 999 and then heard the sound of screeching tyres as a car braked suddenly in nearby William Street.
Two neighbours told the court they were sure Thomas had been the man they saw running “as if for his life” from Ludovic Square that day and said he was so determined to flee the scene as he clutched something in his hand that he was almost run down by a car.
Both said he had been wearing a Rangers top.
One of the women told the court: “I recognised him as my neighbour.”
Another witness said she had seen the accused running away from the scene.
“I know who he is,” she added. “His hair was ginger and, the next time I saw him, it was blonde.”
After convicting Thomas, of Craigdonald Place, Johnstone, Sheriff Colin Pettigrew was told the accused was currently serving 20 months behind bars for breach of probation in relation to another matter and was not due for release until October 20.
Sheriff Pettigrew said that, in all of the circumstances, a further jail term could not be avoided and he locked Thomas up for another 10 months, to run from the expiry of the other period of detention.