A BURGLAR who had targeted student accommodation in Coventry to steal items to sell to support his drug addiction pulled out a syringe when a resident challenged him.
As a result, David Rodgers got away – but was arrested after he was recognised from CCTV recordings, and pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of burglary.
Rodgers (31) of Farran Road, Coventry, who also admitted an attempted burglary and a public order offence, was jailed for a total of three years and ten months.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said: “This was a series of burglaries in different blocks of student accommodation in Coventry city centre.”
On March 19 the occupier of a ground floor room in one student block went out for the evening, but had left a window ajar – and when he returned he found his laptop had been stolen.
The recording from a CCTV camera was checked and showed Rodgers, who was recognised by a police officer as someone she had had difficulty with in the past, reaching in and taking it.
Two days later Rodgers got into the Julian Court student block in Queens Road, which is only accessible with a key card, by ‘tailgating’ someone going in legitimately.
Once inside he tried an office door and was then seen knocking on the doors of rooms on the second floor, so alerted security staff.
A security guard challenged Rodgers when he found him outside a flat on the ground floor, and he claimed to be a resident before leaving.
The police were alerted, and again an officer recognised him from a CCTV recording.
On May 9 Rodgers targeted student accommodation in Spencer Road, Coventry, where a student realised he was not a resident and challenged him.
Rodgers ran out of the front door, and when the student tried to follow him, he pulled out a syringe and pointed it at the student who feared he would be stabbed with it.
Rodgers was arrested a few days later, but was granted bail, and on June 9 he smashed the glass in the front door of another student accommodation in Spencer Road, but was disturbed as he was trying to get in, and left.
Mr Simpson pointed out that the offences made Rodgers, who had a large number of previous convictions for dishonesty, a ‘third strike’ burglar.
Sophie Murray, defending, said: “His lifestyle has led him to a life of acquisitive offending.
“But while he took out the syringe and needle, he kept it by the side of his body, and did not hold it out.”
Jailing Rodgers, Judge Peter Cooke told him: “You are a class A drug user, and you were stealing to fund your addiction and to feed yourself.
“You are more motivated now that previously, but you are in a cycle of offending, prison, release, offending, prison, release, repeat to fade.
“And a syringe is a very scary thing indeed to have produced because of the potential life-changing infection that can result if pricked by it.”
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