An Iranian national in Malta on a student visa has been handed a 4-year effective jail term after admitting to a series of frauds and thefts involving mainly iPhones and mobiles.

Mohammed Kaveh Tahmasebi Ghareh Shiran, 24, was arraigned on Friday after police investigations zoomed in upon him as the suspect behind six cases of fraud, the theft of two iPhones, the theft of a cheque book as well as another theft of an elderly lady’s handbag containing cash and a mobile phone.

“I’m a student here. I did something wrong. I don’t want to lie,” said the soft-spoken man, hands clasped before him, head bent low, when pleading guilty to the series of offences which involved some €32,000 worth of items.

Inspectors Shawn Pawney and Wayne Camilleri explained how the first report about the theft of the two iPhones, worth €3,000, from an electronics chain store at Pietà, had kicked off investigations which soon put police on the tracks of the suspect.

Staff at the store had informed the police that a cheque book had been used several times throughout February and March to purchase iPhones and netbooks. 

Investigators eventually traced the lawful owner from whom the cheque book had been stolen on February 26. The man, a Maltese, had been unaware of the fact that his cheque book was being used.

However, investigators ultimately zoomed in on the suspect after the latter was identified by a third party who spotted him running off with a handbag he had robbed from a 76-year old pedestrian at Ħamrun on Wednesday afternoon.

Further investigations linked the man to the various instances of fraud.

Upon his arraignment, the young man pleaded guilty, confirming his admission after being given due time by the court to reconsider his plea and after being warned of the possible punishment which could vary between 3 to 9 years.

The court, presided over by magistrate Charmaine Galea, handed down a 4-year effective jail term after considering his early guilty plea and the fact that he had collaborated with the police.

Defence lawyer Christopher Chircop, assisting as legal aid, gave notice of appeal.