Footage shows the moment a £500,000 car theft gang were arrested at McDonald’s in Birmingham. West Midlands Police released a video showing the moment they stopped driver Rory Fitzgerald, Harry Beresford and Zachary Shellis at the take-away in Bristol Road.
Officers had been alerted to a group of men trying to force entry to garages in Tessall Lane just before midnight on 17 November 2020.
The offenders made off in a black Peugeot with a distinctive ‘space saver’ wheel on the back. Night-time traffic patrols picked up the vehicle 30 minutes later and followed it into the drive thru where all three were arrested on suspicion of burglary. Balaclavas and gloves were found in the car and examination of their phones revealed photos and video of them posing with stolen cars and driving them away.
In total police linked Fitzgerald (24), Beresford (21) and 25-year-old Shellis to more than 20 stolen cars with a value of around £500,000. One video shows Fitzgerald rummaging through a woman’s handbag following a burglary in Aldridge overnight between 9-10 November 2020 before making off in her BMW.
And in a video from Beresford’s phone filmed during the same break-in one of the trio can be heard singing “I don’t just take cars me, I take the big tele” as they steal a 55-inch TV. Another shows one of the group holding stolen car keys while a voice says “what’s that, eight cars in one night, OK then”.
West Midlands Police charged the three men with conspiracy to steal motor vehicles and conspiracy to burgle homes between 28 June and 16 November 2020. They admitted the charge and at Birmingham Crown Court on 30 September they were all handed lengthy prison terms.
Fitzgerald from Walsall Road, Beresford from Dulwich Road, and Shellis from Anerley Road – all in Birmingham – were jailed for 96, 76 and 66 months respectively.
What has West Midlands Police said?
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kevin Cockayne from the Force CID, said: “After being arrested in the drive thru we initially charged them with three offences – but the full scale of their offending became clear when we analysed their phones.
“They broke into homes for keys to high-performance cars like VW Golfs, Mercedes-Benz and BMWs. No victims were confronted but they caused damage to homes, worry for victims and lots of inconvenience.”
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