A Salford man who stole more than £100,000 from two jewellery shops and a third store has been jailed for more than three years.
Robert Matthews, also known as Robert Keegan, of Halton Bank, Salford, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on October 12 to three years and four months in prison after committing a series of burglaries.
The first burglary took place on Monday May 3 at Salford Shopping Centre. CCTV shows three men approaching Mays Jewellers, lifting up the shutter and taking a number of items totalling more than £43,000. Police recovered a bag of some of the stolen goods but £12,000 of the jewellery remains missing.
The next incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday May 5 at Ernest Jones Jewellers on St Ann’s Street in Manchester City Centre. CCTV showed two men had cycled up to the jewellers and smashed the windows. They stole a number of Ebel watches worth around £54,000. Officers recovered a hammer at the scene, as well as some property.
The final incident occurred on Wednesday May 12, once again in the early hours. Two men were seen on CCTV cycling towards the Mulberry Designer store on The Avenue in Spinningfields, Manchester. Metal grids were used to smash the front window. A number of designer bags were stolen, worth nearly £5,000. Police noted one of the offenders was wearing a distinctive rucksack.
Thanks to intelligence gathered by officers working as part of Operation Orion, a plain clothes policing team based in Manchester City Centre, later that same day, officers arrested Matthews at his home address, seizing a rucksack and his mobile phone.
The phone that was seized revealed internet searches of the incidents and a voice recording of Matthews admitting to the burglaries.
Matthews pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary at Manchester Crown Court. He was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.
Police Constable Andy Shaw from Greater Manchester Police City of Manchester District, said: “This sentence serves as a reminder that anyone committing burglaries or other crimes within the city centre will be found and brought to justice.
“I hope that today’s result demonstrates that GMP will not tolerate this kind of criminality, and that we will continue to seek out those involved, and hold them to account for their actions.
“But we can’t do it alone. The information we get from businesses and communities in the city centre is vital to our work, and helps us to build our intelligence picture and tackle the issues people raise to us. The more information we get, the more we can do.”