Jail for Chilean trio over home break-ins spree
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