A Luton man involved in stealing over £100,000 of parts from BMW cars parked outside homes in Herts, Beds and Bucks was jailed for 16 months Tuesday 30th September 2014.
The 28-year-old was not the “brains of the operation” said his lawyer Stephen Halloran, but played a part to pay off his drug debts.
Specific BMW parts were stolen from 30 cars over two and a half months earlier this year. These included: alloy wheels, convertible roofs, wing mirrors, multi-functional steering wheels and consoles, St Albans crown court heard.
Prosecutor Will Noble said the man was linked to the theft of wing mirrors from a car parked outside a woman’s house in Milton Keynes after a partial DNA match was made to a screwdriver left in the foot well on the driver’s side of the car.
Number-plate recognition technology also put his car in an area of Stevenage where a BMW was jacked up and its alloy wheels and SatNav were stolen.
Mobile phone evidence again placed his car near the location in Berkhamsted, where a BMW estate had its multi-function steering wheel stolen.
In Stevenage, number plate recognition put the man’s car near the place where a convertible had its roof stolen.
The prosecutor said a conservative estimate of the loss to the drivers and their insurance companies in the spate of thefts was over £100,000.
The man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal between 6 April and 19 June this year. He asked for 21 further offences to be taken into consideration. He had 6 convictions for 37 previous offences.
Mr Halloran said his client had built up drug debts after misusing cocaine. “He was not the brains of the operation. He played a role and was doing it to repay what he was told he was owed. He let the insurance on his car lapse in an attempt to stop going along, but he was told to renew it.”
The man, who worked as a carpet fitter, built up the debt after losing his job. He lives with his partner, their two children and her two children from a previous marriage, and was now drug-free.
Mr Halloran said he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had asked for the other offences to be taken into consideration. He said the prosecution accepted his minor role in the conspiracy as there was to be no proceeds of crime hearing.
Jailing him, Recorder David Mayall told defendent “This was sophisticated targeting of high-value BMWs for their parts. I accept your role was as a foot soldier, not as the brains of the operation. “