A MASKED mugger with 71 offences on his record left a 78-year-old pensioner traumatised when he stole her handbag in the street.
Aaron White, 27, was jailed after a Good Samaritan rescued the OAP and picked him out on an identification parade.
He has had a tremendously chaotic lifestyle in recent times, and he would be prepared to co-operate with the probation service to put it back on track.Gary Wood, defending
The woman motorist was driving through snow-hit Hartlepool town centre when she came across the distressed pensioner, who had been targeted by White as she walked on the road to avoid the icy pavements.
White, from Hartlepool, grabbed her handbag and carrier bag, and she lost her angina medication, house keys, £20 cash and mobile phone.
Prosecutor Shaun Dryden told Teesside Crown Court the driver comforted her, drove her home and contacted the police.
She attended an identification parade and picked out White, who was also recognised by an officer who watched town centre CCTV footage from that day, January 19.
White, who was originally charged with robbery which was reduced to theft, was on bail for handling stolen replica firearms taken in a raid on a neighbour’s house.
He asked a cousin to store them in his garden shed, from where they were recovered by police.
Mr Dryden said White had 24 convictions for 71 offences and he was in breach of a community order.
The pensioner told police later that she kept re-living the attack and she had to have her door locks changed because he stole her keys.
White pleaded guilty to two offences of handling stolen goods and theft.
Gary Wood, mitigating, said that White became visibly upset when he explained to a probation officer the reason for the theft during a pre-sentence report interview with the Probation Service.
Mr Wood added: “He has had a tremendously chaotic lifestyle in recent times, and he would be prepared to co-operate with the probation service to put it back on track.”
The judge Recorder Felicity Davies told White: “The only possible sentence of you essentially is immediate custody.
“It’s quite plain that you suffered great difficulties in your earlier life, however despite constructive punishment that the court has given you in the past to help you to move away from crime you continue to offend.”
White, of Wensleydale Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for 26 months and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.