London: New Crimestoppers Campaign Urges Public To Help Catch ‘Ten Most Wanted’ Distraction Burglars

8 Feb

Public urged to help catch ‘Most Wanted’ distraction burglars targeted by new campaign

Crime-fighting charity, Crimestoppers, and the police have launched a list of the 10 ‘Most Wanted’ people sought in connection with distraction burglaries.

Three of last year’s 10 ‘Most Wanted’ distraction burglars received prison sentences, which highlights the value of the campaign. By raising the profile of the individuals, valuable information was brought forward leading to successful prosecutions. See this year’s wanted distraction burglars.

A crime that traditionally peaks in February

The campaign will also warn the public to be careful about who they let into their homes especially as it approaches February, a time of year when burglaries traditionally peak. Distraction burglars trick their way in to the houses of the elderly and vulnerable, by pretending to be a type of official or asking for assistance.

Operation Liberal is a national police unit that provides a countrywide overview of distraction burglary crime and supports force’s investigations into distraction burglaries.

Targeting the most vulnerable

The ‘Most Wanted’ individuals can be seen on Crimestoppers Most Wanted site.

Dave Cording, Director of Operations at Crimestoppers, said: “Distraction burglars target the most vulnerable members of our communities, often the elderly. It is not simply the financial loss, but the effect this type of crime has on the victim, chipping away at their independence and their peace of mind.

“Cash is stolen by using a variety of different distraction tactics. The individuals highlighted prey on older people who may be at risk and need to be brought to justice.

“If you have any information on these most wanted individuals, please contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously, or fill in an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org, we guarantee that no one will know your identity.”

“Distraction burglary has a devasting effect on victims”

Deputy Chief Constable for the East Midlands and Association of Chief Police Officers lead for Operation Liberal, Peter Goodman, said: “Operation Liberal works with all UK police forces to target and catch those who prey on the elderly and vulnerable.

“While distraction burglary isn’t a common crime, it often has a totally devastating effect on the victims. In addition to tracing the whereabouts of the 10 ‘Most Wanted’ distraction burglars, the campaign aims to raise awareness so people can prevent themselves from being deceived by these callous individuals. Our message is: if you’re not sure who is calling, then don’t open the door.

“Members of the public can help assist by reporting suspicious behaviour to the police or by contacting Crimestoppers, who will treat your call anonymously.”

The top 10 ‘Most Wanted’ individuals are:

Name: John William Moses PURCELL
Force: Cheshire
DOB: 11 August 1990
Appeal summary: At approximately 1pm on Tuesday 14 September 2010 there was a Distraction Burglary at Brook Lane, Chester. The offender knocked on the front door of the address of a 92 year old female. He explained that his mate had fractured a water pipe and that he would have to enter the house and run the water. He persuaded the lady and was allowed entry, leaving the front door open. Two further offenders entered the address via this door whilst the first male distracted the lady in the kitchen at the rear of the property. These males then made an untidy search of the address and stole a quantity of cash from a purse in the lounge. All three males left the address by the front door and were seen to get into a silver Audi motor car which is now in possession of the police.

Name: Joseph LOWTHER
Force: Lancashire
DOB: 10 June 1984
Appeal summary: Suspect approached the elderly aggrieved stating she required repairs to the roof of her house. He followed the aggrieved into the house and stated he required in excess of £3000 to buy materials to make the repairs. The aggrieved handed him the cash and the suspect stated he would return the next day to give a receipt. Whilst he was leaving the address a neighbour challenged him and the suspect made off. The male is also wanted for other offences in the Lancashire and other force areas.

Name: Michael WARD
Force: Thames Valley
DOB: 2 July 1982
Appeal summary: Thames Valley Police would like any information on the whereabouts of Michael Ward, he is wanted in connection with distraction burglary.

Name: Patrick CONNORS
Force: Thames Valley
DOB: 28 July 1980
Appeal summary: Thames Valley Police would like any information on the whereabouts of Patrick Connors – he is wanted in connection with distraction burglaries. He has been convicted and sentenced in his absence to 4 1/2 years for a rogue trading offence against an 81 year old woman. On leaving her premises, Connors and his accomplice were pursued by police and failed to stop. During the pursuit, their vehicle hit a pedestrian and continued on. The pedestrian was left with serious life changing injuries.
He has connections in Coventry and Ireland and uses the aliase ‘William Ward’. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Name: Adam JONES
Force: Warwickshire
Age: late 30’s
Appeal summary: Police are appealing for the whereabouts of Adam Jones who failed to answer bail.
He is known to attend addresses of elderly residents purporting to be from a double-glazing or guttering company and steal money either deposits or enter the property and steal items containing cash.

Name: Alfred ADAMS
Force: Lancashire
DOB: 4 August 1978
Appeal summary: Alfred ADAMS was arrested in 2002 for committing numerous distraction burglaries in the North of England. He failed to appear on his bail date and was rearrested in 2006 when he began a 12 year sentence. ADAMS has used numerous aliases in the past and has had links in West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Essex and Northern Ireland.
On 21st March 2010 he absconded from HMP Kirkham and his current whereabouts are unknown

Name: Francis Joseph PURCELL
Force: Cheshire
DOB: 22 September 1989
Appeal summary: At approximately 1pm on Tuesday 14 September 2010 there was a Distraction Burglary at Brook Lane, Chester. The offender knocked on the front door of the address of a 92 year old female. He explained that his mate had fractured a water pipe and that he would have to enter the house and run the water. He persuaded the lady and was allowed entry, leaving the front door open. Two further offenders entered the address via this door whilst the first male distracted the lady in the kitchen at the rear of the property. These males then made an untidy search of the address and stole a quantity of cash from a purse in the lounge. All three males left the address by the front door and were seen to get into a silver Audi motor car which is now in possession of the police.

Name: Gheorghe VELCU
Force: Derbyshire
DOB: 24 April 1982
Appeal summary: Gheorghe Velcu is being sought in connection with a distraction burglary.

Name: Jimmy ROONEY
Force: Debyshire
DOB: 17 March 1971
Appeal summary: Jimmy Rooney is being sought in connection with distraction burglaries.

Name: John NOLAN
Force: Belfast
Age: 20 – 25
Appeal summary: John Nolan is wanted in connection with a violent burglary of a 72 year old lady. There were 3 culprits who, on entering the house, punched the victim, knocking her to the ground. She was threatened with further violence. The attackers searched the property and made off with a substantial sum of money, leaving the victim traumatised

To find out more detail about the top ten, visit http://wanted.crimestoppers-uk.org/

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