Man sentenced to five years and four months for distraction burglaries targeting the elderly

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A man has today been sentenced to 5 years and 4 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to four counts of distraction burglary and criminal damage. 

Michael Roman, also known as Michael Lawrence or Michael Pearson, age 46, of Sunny Bank, Bristol, appeared at Swindon Crown Court today for sentencing. 

On 6 November 2017, Roman entered homes in Parklands in Malmesbury as well as Oaksey Road and Pinnocks Place in Swindon, informing the elderly residents at each address that he was calling on behalf of the local council or the water board and needed to check their piping. 

After forcing his way in to the homes he would search the properties. Although nothing was stolen, on the following day he carried out another distraction burglary in The Crescent, Westbury, where he ripped the internal CCTV camera from the wall.

Local crime investigator Ashton Schorah said: “In all four incidents, elderly residents were targeted in their homes by Roman who pretended to be from the council or the water board. He lied to gain entry into the homes of these vulnerable people leaving them feeling upset, worried and frightened. These people should feel safe in their own homes, and Roman’s actions have taken that away from. During one of the incidents, he ushered the elderly lady into her living room and only left when she became very upset.

“He can be seen on CCTV footage covering his hands when touching door handles in an attempt to prevent police from identifying him. 

“I am satisfied with the sentence handed out today, and would encourage people to talk to their elderly relatives or vulnerable neighbours about not answering their doors to anyone who has not got official ID or who has not made an appointment to visit them. Anyone from the council or water board will be able to produce identification and would not cold call.

“I hope this case sends a clear message to those who engage in this type of criminal activity that our Community Tasking Team will conduct a robust investigation to identify those responsible and ensure they are put before the courts.”

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