A teenage burglar disturbed during a daytime break-in was forced to hide in a wardrobe – for 13 hours.
Aaron Bradford, 18, dived into the cupboard when his victim returned home as he ransacked her property at 2.40pm.
The homeowner called police, who arrived and took away CCTV footage while the brazen burglar stood motionless in the wardrobe.
He only emerged when his victim had gone to bed at 4am – and snatched a camera, a Toshiba laptop and cash as he fled the scene.
But he was arrested nearby and identified by the CCTV footage which filmed him entering and leaving the property.
Bradford, of Plymouth, Devon, admitted burgling the same house on three other occasions and a string of other offences.
He was sentenced to five years in a young offenders’ institution at Plymouth Crown Court less 57 days spent on remand.
David Gittins, prosecuting, said: ”The householder returned home to find the patio doors forced and items moved within the house. She reported the break-in to police.
“He hid in the wardrobe for 13 hours till 4am, then stole a camera, a laptop and a small amount of cash.”
Bradford admitted burgling the house in Yelverton, Devon – the home of his former foster-carer – on three previous occassions.
During one break-in he stole electrical items and jewellery valued at £20,000 – forcing the desperate victim to install security cameras.
Mr Gittins said CCTV of the latest break-in showed hooded Bradford entering the house on April 7 – and leaving on April 8.
He was arrested as he walked along the A386 between Yelverton and Horrabridge with the stolen laptop in his bag.
Bradford also admitted using a bank card stolen from a woman’s handbag to draw cash from her bank account.
He also stole a man’s bank details and used them to act as a guarantor for a loan, securing £466 to pay for 45 mobile phone top-ups.
On June 10 he was involved in a robbery in where “a girl was used as decoy or bait”.
She contacted a man she had been friendly with at school and said she would like to see him.
He paid for her taxi to his flat, but she brought with her a group of armed, masked, hooded men – one of them Bradford.
They burst into the flat with knives and baseball bats and robbed the man of cash, his Apple laptop and his mobile phone.
Jason Beal, for Bradford, said his client showed “contrition and remorse” and had made ”full and frank” admissions.
He said: “This is terribly sad. He has been in care as a child, been fostered by people who were kind to him and now shows contrition and remorse. His ambition is to join the army.”
Judge Graham Cottle told Bradford: “It is unclear what underpinned this sudden spate of serious offending.”
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