Man jailed for £29,000 distraction burglary at family flat
A thief who was part of a gang which stole cash and £20,000 worth of jewellery from a flat above a shop has started a two-year jail term.
The gang targeted the convenience store in Sneyd Lane in Bloxwich, Walsall, recently taken over by Suthan Sivam, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Three of the men deliberately kept the attention of the staff on them by bombarding the person with questions and small purchases, explained Mr Simon Rippon, prosecuting.
This allowed the other man to slip unnoticed through an internal door leading to the first-floor family living quarters.
He pretended to be confused when he found the owner’s wife and young child there and claimed to need help in choosing something for his sick wife, continued Mr Rippon.
£9,000 cash, £20,000 jewellery
The woman kindly went into the shop, inadvertently giving another member of the gang an opportunity to enter the residential area from which he escaped with £9,000 cash and £20,000 worth of irreplaceable jewellery, revealed the prosecutor.
Mr Sivam paid £20,000 up front towards the £39,000 cost of the lease when he took control of the business in December, the court was told.
The £9,000 stolen cash included £6,000 takings about to be banked and the rest was money borrowed from friends to put towards the £19,000 still owed on the lease.
Mr Rippon said: “The occupants of the shop did not realise they had been burgled until later that day and saw how they had been deceived when they watched CCTV film.
“They had no insurance and have been left with nothing.”
Police arrested 32-year-old Romanian Felix Chiciu at his rented accommodation in Darleydale Avenue, Great Barr on April 24.
'Not the driving force'
Officers recognised him from the CCTV footage and found the clothes he had been wearing during the March 31 burglary.
Mr Oliver Woolhouse, defending, insisted: “He was not the driving force behind this and did not go into the residential area.
"But this was planned and he willingly went along with the offence. His reward was £600 from the stolen cash.
"He had recently lost his employment and he and his family were in financial difficulties. He took a stupid decision to take part in what became a very serious offence."
Chiciu - of previous good character - pleaded guilty to the burglary.
Judge Simon Ward told him: "You had financial difficulties and was struggling to look after your family, so you chose to target another family facing similar struggles.
Chiciu – of previous good character – pleaded guilty to the burglary. Judge Simon Ward told him: “You had financial difficulties and was struggling to look after your family, so you chose to target another family facing similar struggles.
"You must have known that it was a family business and you caused a significant degree of economic and sentimental loss."
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