Man who made wheelchair bound Leeds pensioner watch him burgle his Harehills home is jailed

A pickpocket and distraction thief who burgled an 88-year-old wheelchair bound Leeds pensioner in his own home among other offences has been jailed for almost four years.

Norbert Ciechowicz

Norbert Ciechowicz took just £5 during the burglary in Harehills, which Leeds Crown Court heard had left the pensioner a "prisoner in his own home."

House burglar crept around disabled 88-year-old Leeds pensioner as he slept in wheelchairProsecutor, David Mackay said the elderly man lived in a downstairs room and often kept his front door open so he could see birds on feeders on his yard.

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Ciechowicz, 37, walked into the house through the open door in the afternoon on July 10 2019 and picked up his wallet from a worktop while talking to the pensioner and touching his shoulder to distract him.

Norbert Ciechowicz is caught on CCTV burgling the pensioner's home

Ciechowicz took £5 from the wallet before leaving the house.

The pensioner's son had installed CCTV inside and outside the house, which captured images of Ciechowicz committing the burglary.

The court heard the pensioner was targeted by a second burglar a month after Ciechowicz struck.

Mr Mackay said: "He no longer feels safe to leave his front door open so he can't watch the birds. That was one of his few pleasures in life."

Norbert Ciechowicz is caught on CCTV burgling the pensioner's home

Mr Mackay said at around lunchtime on October 27 2018, Ciechowicz struck up a conversation with a 61-year-old stroke victim in Harehills.

The man later went to a cashpoint to withdraw money and Ciechowicz approached him for a second time on Shakespeare Approach in Bumantofts.

Mr Mackay said Ciechowicz spoke to the man in Polish and repeatedly patted him on the shoulders as a distraction technique.

When Ciechowicz left the man noticed his wallet containing £370 in cash and is bank cards had gone along with a gold chain worth £100.

Ciechowicz used the stolen bank cards for ten transactions in three shops and spent £210.

Mr Mackay said On October 30 2019, Ciechowicz approached a group of people on Conway Street in Harehills and attempted to high five one man.

Ciechowicz started to push the man in the shoulders and chest continued to push him and at some point managed to take £1,550 in cash from the man, which the court heard was money to pay for holidays.

Ciechowicz, who has no previous convictions, was arrested the following day.

He admitted burglary, theft, fraud and robbery.

Imran Khan, mitigating, said father-of-three Ciechowicz had been laid off from his job working in a car wash and couldn't get another job.

Mr Khan said: "He is very sorry for what he has done."

Ciechowicz, who appeared via video link from HMP Armley, sobbed and wailed loudly throughout the sentencing hearing, which was translated to him by a Polish interpreter.

Jailing Ciechowicz, for three-years-and-11-months, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said: "You saw (the pensioner's house) was adapted for someone who uses a wheelchair and you thought that provided you with easy pickings."

In October 2019, drug addicted burglar Tomas Mizicar was jailed after Leeds Crown Court heard he was caught on CCTV creeping around the same disabled 88-year-old Leeds man’s front room as he slept in his wheelchair just after 6.30pm on August 27 2019.

Mizicar, 24, took £25 from a wallet, the only cash in the house.

As the pensioner woke Mizicar knocked on the front door and pretended he had just arrived and asked the OAP if he wanted to buy aftershave or perfume.

Mizicar, who also solo admitted a theft, was jailed for three years.