A credit card fraudster tried to bag three iPhones from John Lewis in a day – before he was caught at Birmingham’s Grand Central mall.
Ifeanyi Madu targeted three Midland stores in the space of a few hours, attempting to purchase the XS model – worth £999 at the time.
On each occasion the ‘desperate’ 38-year-old father used a John Lewis Partnership Card in somebody else’s name.
When he was detained in the Birmingham city centre shop, which has since closed down, he tried to dispose of it down a skirting board.
Madu, of Gascoyne Road, London, pleaded guilty to one charge of possessing an article for use in fraud and three charges of fraud by deception. He was handed a 20-week suspended prison sentence at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, November 10.
He made unsuccessful attempts to buy the phones at John Lewis in Leicester and Tamworth on February 9 before trying his luck a third time in Birmingham.
Steven Mickelwright, prosecuting, said: “The defendant travelled to John Lewis in Birmingham, Grand Central at 6pm. He did manage to purchase an Apple iPhone, valued at £999. As the transaction was going through security were alerted and they informed the manager.
“All of the purchases were made with a John Lewis Partnership card which does not relate to the defendant.
“He was detained by security in Birmingham. While being taken to a holding room he removed the fraudulent credit card and dropped it down a skirting board in the room.”
Mohammed Naser, defending, said father-of-three Madu was out of work at the time and said: “Perhaps the pressure he felt and placed upon himself (to provide financially) was responsible for this poor exercise in judgement.
“He was in possession of a card that didn’t belong to him. It was given to him by someone else. He would receive a proportion of the funds generated from the acquisition of the mobile phones.”
He added: “A short time after this offence he was working. He has a degree. He is someone whose background can’t be reconciled with these offences. It goes to demonstrate how desperate he felt and the pressure he felt to behave in this way, which will now live with him for a long time.”
Madu’s jail term was suspended for 18 months. Magistrates ordered he must also pay £185 in court costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
The chair of the bench said: “These offences were planned, they targeted particular stores. You were trying to obtain the same iPhone XS. We don’t know where the card came from but it wasn’t your card, it must have come from someone else.
“This was a group activity and in our view they were serious offences. We believe they cross the custody threshold but there are mitigating factors that allow us to suspend the period of imprisonment.”