Bungling Peterborough burglar who stole from dead woman jailed

A bungling burglar who was caught red handed with stolen items claimed he found them after searching hundreds of nearby bins.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 2:25 pm

Ionut Mustafa, of Alma Road, Millfield, Peterborough, was also linked forensically to the crimes thanks to a footprint he left at the scene of the first house he targeted.

Mustafa (29 targeted three properties in Peterborough on the same day, including the home of a woman who had recently passed away.

The first house was targeted in Fulbridge Road, Peterborough, just after 1.30am on November 14.

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Ionut Mustafa and the footprint he left behind

The victim was asleep on her sofa when she woke up to find her bedroom window, which she had left ajar, wide open. She also noticed her bedroom door, which she had left open, was now closed.

The woman opened the door and found Mustafa ransacking her bedroom. She screamed and Mustafa then climbed out of her bedroom window.

She went back into her living room where she spotted Mustafa climbing over her garden fence into the garden of the house next door.

The woman peered over her fence and saw Mustafa carrying a bike over her neighbour’s back fence. Mustafa turned, looked at the woman and smiled before he disappeared.

Items seized from Ionut Mustafa

Officers spoke to the victim of the second burglary who confirmed that a bike had been stolen from her back garden and her back door keys had been taken after the door was left unlocked.

Mustafa was arrested in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, after being caught red-handed with some of the stolen items from the first house, including jewellery and a TV.

Officers searched through the items and found a purse with two bank cards and a bus pass belonging to a third woman.

Enquiries were made to find the woman and officers spoke to her son, who confirmed the she had died two months previously.

The woman lived in Lowther Gardens, Gunthorpe, Peterborough, and her son confirmed a pane of glass had been smashed on the door of the house to gain entry.

Photos of items found in Mustafa’s possession were sent to the woman’s son who confirmed they belonged to his mother – apart from the hammer used to get inside the house.

Mustafa was also found with the back door keys stolen during the second burglary.

The two houses in Fulbridge Road and the third house in Lowther Gardens were found to be within a five minute walk of one another.

In police interview Mustafa denied carrying out the burglaries and claimed he had found the items - including the clothes he was wearing when he was arrested - after searching between 200 and 300 nearby bins.

He was shown photos of the stolen bike and said he had never seen it before.

Mustafa later changed his story, adding that he could not find “anything to sell” in the bins to make money so became angry and decided to target houses.

He admitted stealing the items from the first house in Fulbridge Road, being in the garden of the second house and going into the Lowther Gardens property “to smoke” where he was handed items by other men.

Mustafa claimed his offending was down to smoking crack cocaine for the first time which “messed with his head”.

He admitted three counts of burglary and one count of theft of a bike at a previous hearing at Cambridge Crown Court.

PC Anna Pollard, who investigated, said: “Waking up to find a burglar in your home truly is the stuff of nightmares.

“Mustafa showed a complete lack of regard for the people at the houses he targeted and his alternative explanation that he had found the stolen items in some bins was beyond belief.

“Burglary can have a devastating impact on victims which is why tackling it is one of our priorities. We are working hard every day to bring offenders before the courts.”

Mustafa was sentenced today (Thursday) where he was handed 12 months in prison.

For burglary prevention advice visit: www.cambs.police.uk/A-Z/Burglary.