Car key burglars terrorised victims in their homes and then posed with stolen cars on Instagram
A gang of car key burglars terrorised people in their homes across Birmingham and Solihull before stealing their expensive cars.
One victim had a meat cleaver held to his throat while a family was chased out of their home and down the street by the weapon wielding intruders.
In another incident, a previously fit and healthy victim died three days after the attack on his home.
Dylan Harrison, 18, of Solihull Lane, Hall Green, who had previously admitted five charges of robbery and two of attempted robbery was sentenced to 12 years detention for the crimes.
A 17-year-old, who can not be named for legal reasons, who had previously pleaded guilty to four robbery charges, two of attempted robbery and one of handling stolen goods, was sentenced to nine years and nine months.
The spree started on 3 February this year at a five bedroom semi detached property in Solihull where the first victim had been in an office at the address where his Golf worth £21,000 was parked in a drive way opposite.
He heard shouting in the premises and when he opened his door he was confronted by three males, all wearing balaclavas and armed with two claw hammers and a meat cleaver.
They were demanding the keys to his car and also money and jewellery.
“One of the men held the meat cleaver to his throat and he believed he was going to be killed,” said Mohammed Hafeez, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court.
He could also hear his sister screaming in the next room and decided to rugby tackle one of the intruders.
While he was fighting with him on the floor he was hit by the others with their hammers and he rolled up in a ball to protect himself.
Mr Hafeez said the victim was later sent an Instagram image of the attackers standing next to his car which they had stolen.
The gang struck again four days later at another property in Solihull taking the victim’s Golf, worth £31,000, after breaking in.
The defendants faces were again covered and they were both holding large knives. He also later received a video on Facebook, lasting about 20 seconds, showing the defendants “messing around” with his vehicle.
On 10 February, they smashed their way into another house in Kings Heath and, after making threats, took two cars belonging to the householder worth a total of £74,000.
The gang then used hammers to break through the front door a house in Highters Heath where the family inside tried to defend themselves and they fled.
Mr Hafeez said one member of the family subsequently died in his sleep from a heart attack and the family believed the stress of what happened had contributed to his death.
He said another target had been a property in Hall Green where a Volkswagen Golf worth £20,000 was on the drive way.
The family living there heard smashing at the back of the house and then saw the intruders wielding weapons.
One family member was hit on the head causing a deep cut while some managed to flee and they were chased down the road by the gang who were shouting racial abuse.
Mr Hafeez said a young woman hid in a cupboard and then in a loft.
In passing sentence Judge Kristina Montgomery said “You were targeting high value motor vehicles which were on drive ways of homes.
Whilst heavily disguised you smashed your way into those homes and terrified the householders, some of whom were young children, threatening them with weapons.
Two of them were injured, one seriously.
The details make horrific listening. The offences were organised, determined and ruthless.”
The judge said there had been both physical and psychological damage to the victims with one family being forced to leave their home.
Gurdeep Garcha, for the 17-year-old, said he was immature but had come to understand how devastating these offences had been.
“They were recruited to this enterprise. The benefit to them was the buzz and excitement of getting to drive nice cars for a short period of time.”
He said it had been been a two week spree.
Tom Walkling, for Harrison, said he suffered from mental health problems which he had been treated for while in custody.
Read more: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/car-key-burglars-terrorised-victims-16878278