Serial burglar traced by app on laptop
A PROLIFIC burglar who stole electrical equipment and jewellery from a house was tracked down by the pregnant victim thanks to an app on a laptop he stole, a court heard.
Thomas O’Neill broke into a property on Laneside Road in Haslingden and swiped an Xbox console, Apple Macbook, jewellery and a holdall. The victim, who was 31 weeks pregnant, returned home to find internal doors and windows open and activated the ‘software locator’ to trace the stolen Macbook.
Prosecutor Mercedes Jabbari told Burnley Crown Court O’Neill had already arranged to sell the electrical equipment for £120.
O’Neill, 43, committed the burglary shortly after 4pm on March 23 and by 5pm had made a deal to sell the items. Ms Jabbari said O’Neill received £100 in cash and was owed £20.
The court heard how the buyer took the laptop home and the ‘software locator’ app traced it to his address.
Police found him at home in the early hours of March 24 and he told officers how O’Neill was due to return to his workplace to pick up the £20.
Ms Jabbari said O’Neill arrived at the office at around 5pm and when police arrived ‘jumped up and ran into the back looking for another exit’. Another worker in the office grabbed hold of O’Neill and told him he ‘wasn’t going anywhere’.
When O’Neill was arrested his trainers forensically matched footprints left at the house.
O’Neill, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for 12 months. The court heard how the defendant has 54 previous convictions for 174 offences including 10 burglaries and 40 thefts.
Charlotte Johnson, defending, said O’Neill had a ‘poor criminal history’ and did not request a presentence report.
She told the court that it was an ‘opportunistic bur- glary’ and there was ‘no soiling or ransacking’.
Miss Johnson said the defendant’s mother passed away in June 2017 and when his father died in January 2018 it was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’.
The court heard how he relapsed into drug and alcohol misuse and committed the burglary to ‘fund his own habit’.
Miss Johnson said O’Neill was ‘disgusted with himself and apologises’.
●● Thomas O’Neill was jailed for 12 months