A BURGLAR who specialises in distraction burglaries against vulnerable, elderly people, has been jailed for four years.
Mold Crown Court was told Bill Dean Bowen, 25, could not cope very well on the outside and in fact found it easier in prison.
The court was told Bowen had spent much of his adult life behind bars. He was released last year but within four months he was offending again.
He tricked his way into the home of a woman in her 80s at St John’s Court, Rossett, Wrexham, and also burgled the home of a young woman and her daughter in Wrexham while they were asleep.
Judge John Rogers QC told him: “You are a persistent burglar who targets the elderly.”
Bowen, of Oak Drive, Acton, Wrexham, identified where the elderly lived and distracted them, preying on their trust, in order to steal their belongings.
He had been convicted on three previous occasions of burglaries at the homes of the elderly and on this occasion he had carried out a distraction burglary at the home of a disabled lady aged 81 who lived alone. He also burgled a house in Wrexham while the occupants slept.
“For the victims, this must have been a terrifying experience,” Judge Rogers told him.
Bowen was apprehended thanks to PC Craig West who identified him from a CCTV film at a shop near one of the burgled premises.
Jonathan Austin, prosecuting, said Bowen had been sentenced to youth custody in 2006, and was jailed in 2008 and 2009 for burglaries, many of them distraction burglaries against the elderly.
The last sentence had been one of four years and nine months because of the seriousness and number of offences.
He would befriend his victims, offer to do odd jobs or gardening work, ask for a drink of water and while their backs were turned would steal their handbags or purses.
On this occasion, he went to the home of a woman living in supported accommodation on August 11. She was recovering from a serious hip operation and used a walking aid.
The lady knew him to say hello to because he had carried out work for other people in nearby bungalows.
He went into her home and asked if she was ok, and asked for change of £1 for the phone.
The victim went to check her purse and he then asked for a drink of water. While she was in the kitchen he took her purse and left. The purse had been of great sentimental value and she had been left angry with herself that she had fallen for it.
Earlier that day Bowen had been responsible for a burglary at Park Avenue, Wrexham, where a woman and her teenage daughter were living.
The woman got up to find the patio window open and her bag and contents had been taken.
Mr Austin said CCTV film from a newsagents’ around the corner was viewed by police and Bowen was seen on it with the stolen bag.
An officer recognised him and he was arrested three days later at a Wrexham service station. He ran off but police were able to catch him.
Brian Treadwell, defending, said: “He sometimes finds it easier in custody than he does on the outside,” Mr Treadwell explained.
Bowen had never spent any significant time in the community since the age of 17 and had missed birthdays and Christmas. His father died when he was 18 and in custody and Bowen had bereavement issues.
Bowen was determined to put his life in order and was following various courses to help him. He had got engaged and was feeling positive for the future. He had recently completed a victim impact course and if he had done so earlier, would not have committed the latest burglaries.
“He accepts what he did was wrong. He accepts full responsibility and expresses remorse,” said Mr Treadwell.