A Thanet distraction burglar has been jailed for five years after stealing from elderly residents at three different properties in one day.
Alexander Steine conned his way into victims’ homes, by asking for water but then used other requests to keep them distracted while he burgled their homes.
Steine went to the first property at around 11am on Wednesday, July 10, in Salmerstone Road in Margate, claiming his car had broken down and he needed a jug of water. When the resident, a woman in her 80s, returned with the water, he asked her if he could use the toilet, so she allowed him to go upstairs.
As Steine returned, he said something which made the victim realise he had trespassed in other rooms in her house. Nothing was stolen.
On the same day Steine also knocked at the door of a property in Nash Court Road, Margate, claiming he had moved in nearby, had issues with hot and cold water and asked the elderly couple if they had the same problem. They said no and he left.
But Steine returned, this time asking for water for his car. He convinced the owners to let him in to use their mobile phone. They made him a cup of tea and offered to arrange a taxi for him.
Steine accepted the offer and said he would wait outside but when the taxi arrived, Steine had disappeared. It was then the victims realised he had been pretending to talk on their phone as he burgled their home and he had stolen a bank card and cash.
At the third property, in Cinder Path, Broadstairs, Steine again told the resident, a woman in her 70s, that he needed a jug of water for the car. She fetched the water, which he took and he returned later with it empty.
A short time later the woman noticed her mobile phone had been stolen.
The three incidents were reported to Kent Police and Steine, of Southwood Road in Ramsgate, was arrested and charged the following day with two counts of burglary and the attempted burglary.
The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court today (September 6) to a total of five years in prison.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Jay Robinson said: “Steine actively targeted elderly people, repeating his requests for jugs of water, or requests to use their phone or toilet, all to distract them while he stole.
“You have to question how someone can carry out this tactic, time after time, against those who are only showing him kindness. Any decent person would find this behaviour deplorable and unacceptable.
“Thankfully the victims reported the offences quickly, so our officers were able to identify and arrest Steine and get him charged within 24 hours of the last burglary.
“He now faces a long time in prison to consider his actions.’”