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Black Country gang leader jailed over string of keyless van thefts

By Thomas Parkes | Bilston | Crime | Published:

A gang leader has been jailed for nearly six years after six vans were stolen in two weeks across the Black Country.

Craig Everitt

Craig Everitt, from Bilston, is believed to have been part of a gang who targeted Transit vans in Dudley, Wolverhampton and Sandwell over two weeks in November last year.

The 39-year-old was linked to the keyless thefts of six vans from outside the addresses between November 14 and November 28, after an investigation and CCTV analysis by West Midlands Police.

He was arrested in Perton in early December – the same day he and associate Richard Howell, also from Bilston, attempted to steal a Ford Focus RS in Shrewsbury.

Richard Howell

Officers from West Midlands Police also connected Everitt to the theft of keys from address in Derby in October, where a BMW was taken and later traced to a garage lock-up in Penn, Wolverhampton.

The 39-year-old of Daley Road, who was jailed for leading a gang of metal thieves in 2012, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal Transit vans, keys to the BMW and attempted theft of the Ford.

He was sentenced to five years and 10 months imprisonment at Wolverhampton Crown Court last Friday .

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Howell, aged 42, of Carder Crescent, admitted to attempted theft of the Ford vehicle and was jailed for 12 months.

DC Richard Taberner, from the force's CID, said: “We identified Everitt as being a key player in a spate of keyless van thefts in just a matter of weeks, which we were able to stop with his arrest.

“We don’t underestimate the inconvenience and impact of such crimes - which can be connected to further criminal activity where some vehicles are broken down at so-called ‘chop shops.’

“We hope this will send out a strong warning to would-be vehicle thieves that such offences will not be tolerated and we will catch and look to put you behind bars."

The thefts involved:

  • Theft of a van from Hawthorne Road, Wolverhampton, overnight on November 14 and 15
  • Theft of a van from Keir Hardie Walk, Tividale, overnight on November 15 and 16
  • Theft of a van from Evergreen Close, Dudley, on November 25
  • Theft of a van from Rocket Pool Drive, Bilston, on November 28
  • Theft of two vans from Fox Street, Dudley, on November 28
Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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