Caught red-handed, airport parking valet who stole from cars
WHEN holidaymakers started to complain of thefts from vehicles left at an airport car park, it was clearly a case for the flying squad.
Detectives set up a sting operation, leaving £25 in cash in an Audi to tempt the suspected thief.
And Mirosla Maciag, 56, fell straight into the trap, pocketing the money while parking the car for a meet-and-greet service. Officers found the money on him and decided to search his home where further stolen items were discovered.
Bosses had been able to find out who had access to the targeted vehicles and Maciag’s name was said to have stuck out. Cash, Hugo Boss sunglasses and two iPods worth £370 had all gone missing.
Maciag, who was born in Poland, appeared before Manchester magistrates on Monday and admitted stealing from four cars last autumn. James Towey, prosecuting, said the offences were serious because he had been granted a high degree of trust.
Prosecutors accepted Maciag’s insistence that he had not stolen from six other vehicles from which items were missing.
Alia Khokhar, in mitigation, said Maciag had not been in trouble before, either here or in Poland, and had turned to theft because of financial demands being made by his then partner.
‘The defendant suggests that he is not the only one who has access to the cars,’ she added. ‘Some cars are moved on at least two occasions.’
Maciag is now working as a driver for Rolls-Royce, the court heard.
‘This is the first and last time he hopes to appear before this court,’ his lawyer said. ‘He has been very stressed out and fearful of the consequences of appearing at this court today.’ Maciag, of Heywood, near Manchester, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also told to pay £200 in costs and surcharges. The other thefts remain unsolved.
A Manchester airport spokesman said: ‘We take all reports of crime on the airport site seriously and in this instance we worked with Greater Manchester Police.’
The case comes amid accusations of unscrupulous meetand-greet firms dumping cars in fields, losing keys or of staff taking vehicles for joy rides.
Guilty plea: Maciag