A MAN has been jailed for three years after break-ins across the country including at a wholesaler on a Basingstoke industrial estate.
Mihai Apitilisei, of no fixed address, admitted five counts of burglary, including one at Booker Wholesale, in Daneshill East Industrial Estate where close to £2,000 of damage was caused.
Officers were called to a break-in at Booker cash and carry in Harnham during the early hours of September 4, 2018, where offenders had moved CCTV cameras and used a disc cutter to break through the outside wall.
Once inside they had tried to cut a hole into the cigarette store but were disturbed by an alarm and fled the scene.
When officers arrived they saw a group of men in a Ford Galaxy car driving off, but the occupants ran off, leaving the vehicle behind.
Forensic evidence as well as disc cutters, crowbars and other tools were found when the car was searched.
A number of phones, which revealed the car had been in the London area, followed by Basingstoke, were also seized.
On March 25, 44-year-old Apitilisei was arrested in Milton Keynes in connection with an attempted break-in at a commercial premises.
His DNA was then matched to the Basingstoke burglary, and other offences across the UK.
Apitilisei appeared at Swindon Crown Court on Thursday, 6 June and pleaded guilty to five charges of burglary, which related to the following offences:
- March 4, 2018: Break-in at Stone Computers in Stafford where offenders cut a large hole in the wall and removed £8,000 worth of computers and caused £6,000 worth of damage.
- July 12, 2018: Break-in at Batleys Cash and Carry in Sheffield where offenders had smashed a hole in the wall and cut the shutter to the cigarette containers stealing £12,000 worth of cigarettes and causing £3,400 worth of damage.
- September 3, 2018: Break-in at Booker cash and carry in Basingstoke, with damage caused to the value of £1,998 in an attempt to steal cigarettes.
- September 4, 2018: Break-in at Booker cash and carry in Harnham, Salisbury, with damage caused to the value £8,349 in attempt to steal cigarettes.
- September 10, 2018: Break-in at Dobbies Garden Centre in Gillingham, Kent, where offenders had cut a hole in the roof and cut open a safe stealing £4,000 and causing of damage worth £3,000.
Apitilisei received a range of consecutive prison sentences, from 15 months to three years and will serve a total of three years in jail.
Detective Constable Mark Welch, from Wiltshire Police’s Community Tasking Team, said: “This was a complex investigation, where we took the lead for all the Forces who’d had offences in their areas.
“Apitilisei was clearly part of a very organised group of offenders who would target commercial premises in the hours of darkness and would go equipped with tools for the job.
“Our enquiries are now ongoing to find the offenders who worked alongside him and make sure they are also brought to justice.”