A burglar who stole thousands of pounds from elderly people by posing as a policeman to con his way into their homes during lockdown has been jailed for 10 years.
David Kerrigan, 38, targeted a number of victims around London last year and used a bogus police warrant card to steal thousands of pounds from them.
Kerrigan got access to their homes by telling them two thieves were arrested nearby and asked if he could come inside and check if anything had been stolen from them.
The 12 victims were aged between 61 and 96 and fell for his con, inviting him in.
He would search rooms in the homes looking for items to steal and sometimes asked victims where they kept their cash, in a brazen bid to make stealing from them even easier.
Wallets and purses containing around £4,000 of cash in total were stolen by Kerrigan and he also took jewellery, watches and bank cards.
At nearby shops he would use the bank cards and spend below £35 to avoid the contactless spending limit at the time.
Police said that none of the stolen property was ever found or returned to the victims.
David Kerrigan, 38, (pictured) targeted a number of victims around London between April and August last year and used a bogus police warrant card to steal thousands of pounds from them
The serial burglar struck between last April and August last year in Kensington, Chiswick, Gunnersbury, Brent Park and Acton.
Burglaries also happened in Golders Green, South Tottenham, East Ham and Walthamstow.
Kerrigan was snared by police when detectives investigating burglaries in Newham, East London and Waltham Forest, North East London, noticed a pattern in the bogus story being replicated across other areas.
Detective Sergeant Keith Faris from the Met’s North East Burglary and Robbery Unit remembered a historic case from 2013 and the investigators got their breakthrough.
Investigators were able to link a family member to Kerrigan and CCTV from shops where the victims’ cards were used showed it was the defendant involved.
Kerrigan was arrested and refused to go to the interview room to be spoken to by police so was questioned by detectives in his cell.
He did not answer their questions and remained silent on his bed until he suddenly sprang up and threatened the interviewing officer, telling her she had ‘two seconds to leave the cell or else.’
After the interviewing officer left, Kerrigan shouted a torrent of racist abuse at them through the slot in his cell door.
Kerrigan was snared by police when detectives investigating burglaries in Newham, East London and Waltham Forest, North East London, noticed a pattern in the bogus story being replicated across other areas. Pictured: Kerrigan on CCTV footage
Kerrigan was jailed for nine years and 10 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, November 26 after pleading guilty to 12 counts of burglary and one charge of racially aggravated harassment earlier this month.
Detective Sergeant Keith Faris of the Met Police, who led the investigation, said after the sentencing: ‘Kerrigan preyed upon the elderly and vulnerable and abused their trust by posing as a plain clothed police officer to walk away with their hard earned money and valuables.
‘We will not tolerate this type of offending and we will robustly target and bring to justice those who think they can take advantage of the vulnerable and elderly.
‘Once Kerrigan had been caught, he vented his frustration by racially abusing an officer.
‘While police officers appreciate that an unfortunate part of their job is being subject to verbal abuse, racism is never acceptable and we will robustly deal with anyone who racially abuses officers or members of the public.’
He also warned residents who have doubts to use the new measures for identifying lone officers that were introduced in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard by serving cop Wayne Couzens.
He said: ‘This [the conviction] was a fantastic effort by my team, whose hard work resulted in Kerrigan having no choice but to plead guilty due to the overwhelming evidence they uncovered.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the public to be vigilant against distraction burglars, who often prey on the elderly and vulnerable.
‘Distraction burglars pose as someone with fake ID or a uniform to gain your trust and access your home under a false pretence to steal.
‘They could say they need to check your meters, fix plumbing leaks, or virtually any official reason to enter your home – including posing as a police officer.
The serial burglar was jailed for nine years and 10 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, November 26 after pleading guilty to 12 counts of burglary and one charge of racially aggravated harassment earlier this month. Pictured: Kerrigan on CCTV in a shop
‘Utilise your spyhole or door chain where possible and always remember to ask for an ID badge or paperwork.
‘If you are in doubt, call the official number for the company they say they are from – do not call a number they give you – or contact the police.
‘If they say they are a police officer, ask to see their warrant card and ask for their name and warrant number.
‘If you are still in doubt, call the police on 101 to clarify what they are telling you is the truth or get the lone plain-clothed officer to use our new system, which they will be aware of, to video call a uniformed supervisor in one of our police operations rooms to provide verification and properly record the encounter.
‘Any genuine police officer there for legitimate reasons would not mind you doing this, and would in fact encourage it.’