Thief stole £ 100,000 of jewelry and designer handbags in raids on Mulberry and Ernest Jones
A thief who stole Â£ 100,000 of jewelry and designer handbags in a series of morning raids has been jailed.
Robert Matthews, 42, was part of a gang that targeted Ernest Jones and Mulberry stores in Manchester city center and Mays Jewelers in Salford shopping center during a nine-day spree in May.
In the first raid on May 3, three men were caught on CCTV breaking into the Salford shopping center.
After opening the security shutters, they then made their way into Mays Jewelers before escaping with Â£ 54,000 of goods.
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Police then recovered a bag containing some of the stolen items, but Â£ 12,000 of jewelry is still missing.
Two days later, Ernest Jones on St Ann’s Street in Manchester was targeted.
CCTV showed two men cycling to jewelers before smashing the window with a hammer and stealing a number of Ebel watches worth over Â£ 54,000.
Police then found a number of watches that had been abandoned as the men fled.
They also found a hammer that had been left at the scene.
On May 12, two men were seen on CCTV cycling to the Mulberry Designer store on The Avenue in Spinningfields.
They smashed shop windows with wire racks before stealing designer bags worth nearly Â£ 5,000.
But following intelligence gathered by officers working under Operation Orion, a team of plainclothes police based in Manchester city center, Matthews, of Halton Bank, Salford, were later arrested in the day at his home.
Police seized a backpack and her cell phone.
And searches on the phone revealed that internet searches for the raids had been made, and a voice recording of Matthews confessing to the heists was also found.
Matthews, also known as Robert Keegan, was jailed to three years and four months on Tuesday after pleading guilty to three counts of burglary at Manchester Crown Court.
PC Andy Shaw said: “This sentence is a reminder that anyone who commits burglaries or other crimes in the city center will be found and brought to justice.
“I hope today’s result demonstrates that GMP will not tolerate this kind of crime, and that we will continue to find those involved and hold them accountable.
âBut we can’t do it alone. The information we get from businesses and downtown communities is vital to our work and helps us build our intelligence image and solve the issues people bring to us. More we get information, the more we can do. “
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