Burglar caught with book titled 'Confessions of Master Jewel Thief'November 27, 2023
Burglar caught with book titled ‘Confessions of Master Jewel Thief’ arrested after bungling a raid by leaving his DNA at the scene and allowing his face to be caught on CCTV
- Peter O’Halloran, 49, carried out home invasions over a period of three years
A prolific burglar found with a book called ‘Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief’ was caught after bungling a raid by leaving his DNA at the scene and allowing his face to be caught on CCTV.
Peter O’Halloran, 49, carried out a series of home invasions in five counties over three years, stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash, gems and other valuables.
His most high-profile jobs, which was featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch show, involved an estimated £700,000 haul of designer watches, jewellery and other family heirlooms from an elderly Northamptonshire couple in 2019.
O’Halloran bypassed their security systems while they were out of town and spent hours in their home before making his escape.
He remained at large until he slipped up by leaving his DNA on a ladder used to break into a house in Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, in March last year.
Peter O’Halloran has been jailed for more than 12 years for a series of home invasions in five counties
The criminal was spotted on CCTV carrying out one of his raids, and left behind DNA on a ladder
When he was arrested police found a copy of ‘Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief’ in his bedroom
CCTV also showed him sneaking around the boundary of the property, peering in through windows before entering and taking jewellery and watches.
When police raided his home near Stowmarket in Suffolk in November last year, they found a concealed compartment in a desk containing £60,000 in cash, coins worth up to £80,000, watches and bags of gems. The total value was more than £500,000.
The defendant had a copy of ‘Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief’ in his bedroom, a 2004 autobiography by American criminal Bill Mason who claims to have stolen £27 million of property from homes and hotel rooms during his career.
Victims he named included Johnny Weissmuller, the US Olympic swimming legend who went on to play Tarzan in a dozen movies between 1932 and 1948, as well as the Jungle Jim series of films.
O’Halloran also had books on antiques, fine metals, jewellery and gems, while his car contained false number plates, mobile phones, cash and changes of clothes.
He was jailed for 12-and-a-half years at Cambridge Crown Court on November 17 after admitting the Guilden Morden burglary, as well as the one in Northamptonshire and another in Norfolk.
A further nine break-ins, including four in Cambridgeshire, were taken into consideration.
Detective Constable Lisa Bacon, of Cambridgeshire’s Southern Burglary Team, said afterwards: ‘O’Halloran is a calculating, professional, high-value burglar with a string of convictions against his name.
‘He considers himself a ‘master thief’, carefully surveying the homes he is going to target and then going to great lengths to ensure the stolen items are not traced back to him.
O’Halloran was found to have£60,000 in cash, coins worth up to £80,000, watches and bags of gems
The total value of the items found in O’Halloran’s Stowmarket home was more than £500,000
Officers found the goods stashed in a hidden compartment in a desk at his Suffolk home
‘I hope this sentence provides some closure to all of the victims affected by his criminality.’
The female victim’s wedding band and her husband’s collection of designer watches were among the items O’Halloran stole during the Northamptonshire burglary in January 2019.
Detectives were unable to crack the case, despite extensive enquiries and public appeals. The woman offered a £10,000 reward, which was featured on the Crimewatch programme, after her husband died suddenly months after the break-in.
It was only earlier this year that police in Cambridgeshire contacted colleagues over the border in Northamptonshire about a burglary and a pattern of offending was identified, leading to the arrest of O’Halloran, who is also known as Peter Sonny Martin Noon.
Detective Sergeant Karl Curtis, of Northamptonshire’s Burglary Team, said: ‘The emotional impact of O’Halloran’s actions on his victims cannot be overestimated.
‘He didn’t just invade their homes and steal expensive jewellery – he sullied the memories attached to each item.’
A further court hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act is due to take place in April next year.
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