A serial housebreaker has been jailed after DNA evidence helped snare him following a £7,000 raid on an Aberdeen flat.
David Gray broke into the ground floor property on Nellfield Place in Aberdeen, making off with thousands of pounds in cash, as well as jewellery and a games console.
The 32-year-old broke into two further homes in the city and was disturbed by the homeowners.
‘Various items had been disturbed’
Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Gray targetted the Nellfield Place flat on August 12, with the owner coming home to find a kitchen window wide open.
The woman noticed “various items had been disturbed” and that $9,000, equivalent to more than £6,600, was missing from a drawer.
Jewellery including an engagement ring was also missing, worth around £300, along with a £400 PlayStaion 4.
Mr Neilson said: “DNA analysis of lifts taken from the locus provided a positive match for the accused.
The fiscal said $2,900 was recovered from Ramsdens Financial on Union Street, having been exchanged by associates of Gray.
In another incident on September 23, Gray broke into a house on Rowan Road in Aberdeen and was confronted by the occupant who returned him to find him there.
Mr Neilson said: “On returning to the property at 1.30pm she noticed a bike in the driveway she did not recognise.
“She found this strange and called ‘hello’ as she walked through the front door.
“A male voice replied ‘hello’.”
Gray then appeared and walked towards the front door.
The fiscal said: “On being challenged by the woman, the accused said he needed the money. He walked past her, got on the bike in the driveway and cycled away.”
A £90 watch and £300 worth of jewellery were stolen and not recovered.
Gray broke into a third property later that afternoon on Cornhill Gardens, Aberdeen.
The homeowner had initially come home and spotted Gray at a window, but mistook him for her son.
However, when he walked down the stairs and out of the house she called her husband who phoned the police.
Spare car keys, trainers, a small amount of cash, and jewellery had been stolen.
The items, worth around £400 altogether, were recovered.
‘History of drug misuse’
Gray, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, pled guilty to three charges of theft by housebreaking.
Defence agent Neil McRobert said: “He has a history of drug misuse, and offending to fund that drug misuse.”
He added Gray had “very limited recollection” due to the substances consumed.
However the solicitor said a period on remand at the prison had been of benefit to Gray, who was able to abstain from drug use and saw his mental health improve.
Sheriff Philip Mann ordered Gray to be jailed for 22 months.