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Powys Powys West Wales

‘Charming’ criminal gained women’s trust online and stole from their homes

A ROMANCE criminal has been jailed after winning the trust of women he met on dating sites and stealing from their homes.

Following an investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police, Oliver Anthony Alexander was found to have charmed his way into moving in with women a short time after starting relationships with them, before betraying their trust and leaving them feeling guilty and naïve.

Alexander – who was discovered to have a number of aliases – was jailed on Thursday, July 22, just days after the offences were reported to police.

Sergeant Craig Morgan said: “This was a very unusual case, and one unlike typical reports of romance fraud where victims never actually meet offenders in person.

“Rather than asking his victims to send money to a bank account, Alexander was actually charming his way into their homes through a series of lies, and taking the first opportunity he could to steal from them.”

Officers were made aware of the crimes on Saturday, July 17 when a woman reported a theft from her home. She explained that she had met 44-year-old Alexander online, and after letting him stay at her Powys home for a week, he left with a TV, and a gold wedding ring and suit belonging to her late father.

Later that day, a second woman arrived at Ystradgynlais police station, reporting that she too had allowed Alexander to move into her home but had become suspicious of his behaviour. She asked officers to attend and help get him to leave.

Sgt Morgan said: “Two officers visited the woman’s home and arrested Alexander on suspicion of theft. His car was searched, and found to contain the stolen suit and TV, as well as numerous contact details for women and love letters.

“An iPad was also found, which we discovered belonged to a woman from the South Wales Police area. She was contacted and told us she had met Alexander two months ago and had taken him in.”

Enquiries established that Alexander had changed his name by deed poll from Oliver Alexander Davenport to Oliver Anthony Alexander, and that his original name was Joshua Jamie McKenna. McKenna was discovered to have a vast offending history, including a conviction for a sexually aggravated assault.

Thanks to the swift work of officers in interviewing victims and gathering evidence, Alexander, from Preston, was charged with two counts of theft the day after his arrest.

He admitted the offences at Merthyr Magistrates’ Court, and was sentenced to 12 months in prison – six months for each offence. He was also handed restraining orders against the two victims lasting two years.

“Alexander, as he is now known, is clearly a prolific offender who preys on vulnerable women by telling them a series of lies to make out he is someone he’s not,” Sgt Morgan said.

“He has crossed police borders to commit offences and charmed his victims who trusted that they were in genuine relationships with him.

“I would like to thank the victims for their honesty and strength in reporting these offences, and hope the sentence offers some comfort.”