Jail for Chilean trio over home break-ins spree

Western Mail - - NEWS - Rod Minchin news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

AGANG who car­ried out a string of break-ins across south Wales and Eng­land in a three-month crime spree have been jailed.

Julio Gal­damez-Ro­driguez, 20, Luis Ro­jas, 35, and Fran­cisco Mon­te­ci­nos, 32, be­tween them car­ried out 14 bur­glar­ies in Lon­don, Sus­sex, Ox­ford­shire, Cardiff and Mon­mouthshir.

Cardiff Crown Court heard they would force en­try to the rear of the prop­erty dur­ing the day­time raids. Dur­ing one bur­glary in Cardiff they were dis­turbed by an 85-year-old woman re­turn­ing to her home and fled empty-handed.

On gain­ing en­try, they would steal cash, jew­ellery and ex­pen­sive elec­tri­cal goods, such as iPads, lap­tops and dig­i­tal cam­eras, be­fore flee­ing. In to­tal they stole items worth £60,000 but also took many sen­ti­men­tal and price­less pieces of jew­ellery.

The bungling gang would of­ten leave cru­cial pieces of foren­sic ev­i­dence at the scene of their crimes, such as blood­stains or fin­ger­prints, and were some­times caught on CCTV.

The first bur­glary was com­mit­ted on April 7 this year in Lon­don and the gang were fi­nally ap­pre­hended af­ter flee­ing the scene of their last breakin on June 27 – hav­ing com­mit­ted four that day alone.

They had been seen by neigh­bours flee­ing a prop­erty in Usk, Mon­mouth­sire, hav­ing failed to dis­able the bur­glar alarm.

Eye­wit­nesses gave po­lice a de­scrip­tion of a sil­ver Mercedes and of­fi­cers were able to track its move­ments on to the M4 and across the Sev­ern Bridge into Eng­land. The three de­fen­dants were ar­rested along­side a 16-year-old boy, who can­not be named for legal rea­sons, on the mo­tor­way near Bris­tol.

In­side the car po­lice found prop­erty later dis­cov­ered to have been taken from that day’s ear­lier raids.

At a pre­vi­ous hear­ing Gal­damez-Ro­driguez pleaded guilty to 10 bur­glar­ies, Ro­jas to five and Mon­te­ci­nos to six.

They had all ar­rived in the UK from Chile just weeks be­fore car­ry­ing out their crime spree.

Cur­tis Telfer, de­fend­ing Gal­damez-Ro­driguez, said his client, who has a co­caine habit, in­tended to travel to Am­s­ter­dam but got lost at Heathrow and missed his con­nect­ing flight.

“He tells me that he was un­aware of the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fend­ing be­cause he was un­fa­mil­iar with the laws of this coun­try,” he said.

Mr Telfer, also rep­re­sent­ing Mr Ro­jas, said the fa­ther-of-four ar­rived in the UK for a hol­i­day in Jan­uary but fell vic­tim to a fraud, hav­ing paid in ad­vance for two weeks’ ac­com­mo­da­tion.Ro­jas has a long record in his home coun­try for bur­glary, pos­ses­sion of weapons and drugs of­fences and had pre­vi­ously been de­ported from Spain in 2005.

Matthew Roberts, de­fend­ing Mon­te­ci­nos, said his client had been in the UK for a month and had fallen into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties.

Jail­ing the trio, Judge Tom Crowther QC said: “You will be de­ported at the com­ple­tion of your sen­tence but given the shortness of time you have been in the UK and this blitz of se­ri­ous of­fend­ing, your re­moval is clearly in the pub­lic good.”

Gal­damez-Ro­driguez was de­tained for nine years while Ro­jas and Mon­te­ci­nos were each jailed for six years.

> From left, Julio Gal­damez-Ro­driguez, Luis Ro­jas and Fran­cisco Mon­te­ci­nos

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