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Two of West Midlands Police’s ‘most wanted’ men have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit nearly 70 burglaries, as well as an aggravated burglary on a vulnerable man.
Dobroslav Gabor and Marek Balog committed 68 burglaries in just four months during the height of the Covid lockdowns - from 23 July to 7 November 2020. The pair targeted the elderly and vulnerable across Sandwell, Walsall and Birmingham.
They brazenly walked into people’s homes and were known to climb onto roofs to get in via open windows. They also posed as workmen and offered services such as cleaning driveways to gain access. Once inside, they stole money and bank cards, as well as electrical items and sentimental jewellery.
As the crime spree intensified, victims and their neighbours worked together to gather information and were able to get hold of Balog’s ID card which was sent to detectives.
Gabor was identified as being the second half of the crime duo, as finger prints left at the scene of a burglary on Midland Close, were found on our police database following a knife offence earlier that year.
With two named suspects, officers were able to widen their intelligence and property searches to try and trace them. Gabor was arrested in October after a woman saw him using her bank card in a shop in Handsworth, only a day after it was stolen in a burglary at her home.
The 26-year-old was charged with burglary, and later released by Birmingham Magistrates Court. Whilst out on bail, the pair continued to commit burglaries across the region including an aggravated burglary at a property in West Bromwich. Gabor and Balog walked into the house of a vulnerable 81-year-old man, who had left his front door open as he was awaiting a visit from his carers.
The man questioned them for being in his home and they hit him, knocking him to the ground and threatened him with a knife. They stole money from his pockets and prized his wedding ring from his finger. A ring he had worn for nearly 60 years.
The elderly man managed to press his emergency alarm for help, which seemed to spook the men, who locked him in a room and unplugged his phone line. The man was taken to hospital for his injuries and his health unfortunately deteriorated. More recently the gentleman sadly passed away.
They also stole money from the pocket of a man asleep in his Lozells home and raided the house of a deaf man, who was unable to hear them smashing their way into his house. As well as targeting a Birmingham temple twice.
At Birmingham Crown Court on 5 May 2022, Gabor, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit 67 burglaries. He was jailed for 16 years. Yesterday (17 October) Balog pleaded guilty to the same offences and was jailed for 14 years and 10 months.