A cruel thief swiped a 91-year-old woman’s wedding jewellery during a burglary at her home − and days later proposed to a woman with one of the stolen rings.
Steven Reid (below left) was with fellow crook Jerome Jones (below right) when he broke into the lady’s home in St Martins Road, Sutton Coldfield, on 19 December last year.
The heartless pair kept the pensioner prisoner in her own bedroom while one searched other rooms for valuables and the other pilfered cash from her purse.
Reid used the victim’s gold engagement ring to propose to a woman on Christmas Eve − but his romantic gesture backfired when she spotted a West Midlands Police appeal for help to trace the stolen jewellery and contacted detectives.
Jones (below) was caught on CCTV the morning after the burglary at a jewellery shop in Birmingham Road trying to sell the stolen valuables, including a signet ring, watch and bracelet that belonged to the woman’s late husband.
He was turned away but later that day friend Christopher Rowland returned to the shop with ID and exchanged the jewellery for cash.
However, staff alerted West Midlands Police after also spotting the public appeal issued on December 29 and Rowland was arrested later that day.
A chisel found at the scene of the burglary − used to prise out a glass door pane − was forensically examined and returned a DNA hit to 38-year-old Reid.
He was arrested from Margaret’s House in Berryfields Road, while 26-year-old Jones was traced to an address in Rubery on 2 January.
Jones admitted burglary and Reid was found guilty having denied the offence − and at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday (5 July) they were jailed for 51 months and 57 months respectively.
West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Tom Lyons, said: “The victim was unhurt but this was clearly a shocking ordeal for her. She was awoken by a security light being activated and footsteps on the stairs…and moments later they burst into her bedroom.
“She was told to stay in bed while they ransacked her home. The lady was clearly elderly and vulnerable − and for Reid and Jones to prey on her vulnerability is despicable.
“Members of the public were as disgusted as we were at the nature of the offence and we had a fantastic response to our public appeal for information. Several people called naming Reid and Jones as suspects, while the jewellers and Reid’s would-be bride also called.
“We secured compelling evidence against the pair and I am pleased they have both been handed prison sentences of several years.”
Rowland, aged 40 from Mount View in Erdington, was given 12-month community order, including requirement to attend a rehabilitation course, and a conditional discharge for handling stolen goods.
West Midlands Police is carrying out a blitz on crime but officers continue to need your help to stop criminals in their tracks.
The public can help by visiting our Caught On Camera gallery and contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with any information.
Calls are anonymous and you may be entitled to a reward of up to £1,000 if your tip-off leads to a positive result; just ask for a reward code when you speak to the charity’s call agent.
Source:: West Midlands Police News