Burglar caught red-handed at Wolverhampton capture house
A burglar caught breaking into a house that had been fitted with secret recording equipment by police in Wolverhampton has been jailed for four-and-a-half months.
Andres Balog forced his way in to the property in Park Village on 12 January triggering motion-sensor cameras which filmed his every move.
They’d been placed in the Park Village terrace − one of many capture houses across the West Midlands − by detectives from CID, in a bid to catch thieves red-handed.
When officers reviewed the footage it showed the 26-year-old snooping around the living room and rummaging through kitchen cupboards.
Balog was identified just over a week later when officers recognised him as he was brought into custody on suspicion of a separate offence.
He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison for burglary at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Wednesday (23 July).
Detective Sergeant Nicki Addison, from Wolverhampton CID, said: "Houses, sheds, garages and outbuildings can all be fitted with this portable and easy to install equipment, meaning any property in a burglary hot spot area can be quickly converted to capture thieves.
“By informing the public of the success of these capture houses and revealing just a snippet of our capabilities, the message from us is twofold.
“Firstly we are sending a clear warning to criminals that if they commit burglary in the city they will be caught. Secondly, the people of Wolverhampton can be reassured that we‘re working on innovative ways to protect them.
“The capture houses are only one thread of a continuing drive to reduce burglaries and increase the number of offenders brought to justice.
"We also work to help people avoid becoming victims of burglary in the first place by regularly offering crime prevention advice and encouraging people to register their property through the online property recording website www.immobilise.com."
Tactics such as capture houses, as well as other measures to target offenders, have seen burglary rates continue to fall in Wolverhampton with 1,058 offences last year (Apr 2013 − Mar 2014) compared to a peak of 2,438 offences in 2002/2003 - a reduction of 57 per cent.