A bungling Gravesend thief left empty-handed after he posed as a customer while trying to steal a gold bracelet. 

Samuel Neculai, 21, went into the shop on Rochester High Street at around 11am on February 22. 

He asked to look at a £1,225 gold bracelet which was displayed behind glass, then when the female shop worker passed it to him he immediately tried to flee. 

However, the quick-thinking shop worker managed to block his exit while another woman activated the door lock. 

The two employees were then able to retrieve the bracelet from Neculai, who ripped off the door handle while trying to escape. 

The women then allowed him to leave the shop as they feared for their safety. 

Kent Police were called and Neculai was identified from fingerprints on the shop door. 

He was then arrested on March 15 and charged with attempted robbery and criminal damage. 

News Shopper: Samuel NeculaiSamuel Neculai (Image: Kent Police)Neculai, of Cobham Street in Gravesend, pleaded guilty to both offences. 

At Maidstone Crown Court on Monday (May 20) he was jailed for one year and nine months. 

Investigating officer PC Elli Langford said: "Neculai targeted a high-value item of jewellery but was foiled by the quick-thinking actions of those working at the business. 

“Not only did he leave the shop empty-handed but he incriminated himself by leaving his fingerprints behind. 

“This was shocking for the employees who feared they would be harmed during the incident. 

“I hope that this sentence offers them some reassurance and acts as a deterrent to other would-be criminals.”