A creeper thief who stole a Ford Mustang was caught thanks to a barking dog and some persistent detective work by the vehicle owner.
Qasim Rasul and other thieves were seen secretly pushing the American muscle car into the street in the early hours of the morning after breaking into the victim’s house.
The 42-year-old man was released from prison on permission at the time of the incident following his previous conviction for theft – when he had broken into the home of an 89-year-old woman – and has now recorded 100 criminal offences.
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The Swansea Crown Court heard that the Mustang theft took place in the village of Crynant in the Dulais Valley on October 21 last year. A householder was awakened at around 2:45 a.m. by the sound of dogs barking, and when he looked out the window he saw two men pushing his colleague’s Ford Mustang down the street.
David Singh, the prosecutor, said the woman went to challenge the thieves, and the men fled. The woman then realized that her partner’s house had been robbed, and her Land Rover keys were missing. The woman contacted her partner – who was at work – parents, and the police.
The court heard a torch and a wrench were found in the back seat of the Ford, and a search of the area by members of the victim’s family found the keys to the missing Land Rover along with a Samsung phone. Singh said police were then able to link the phone to Merthyr man Rasul – although the phone was not registered for him, it was the same number he gave his probation officer after he was released from prison. DNA was also recovered from a Mustang that was matched with the accused.
Rasul was arrested on 29 November and gave a ready statement to police in which he denied being in Crynant that night, and denied the offence.
In an impact statement from the woman who confronted the accused, she said the incident had made her feel afraid to be inside the house, and had led the couple to install extra security measures on their property.
The second Mustang thief is still at large.
Rasul, who has no permanent residence, had previously pleaded guilty to robbery and theft when he showed up at the pier to serve his sentence. He had 40 previous convictions for 98 offenses, including 42 for dishonesty offences. He has convictions for home burglaries from 2010, 2012, 2016, and 2019. This latest burglary saw Rasul and his accomplices break into the home of an 89-year-old woman in Merthy in the middle of the night and conduct an “untidy search” of the property before stealing her cell phone, laptop computer, handbag, and some cash.
The pensioner only realized something was wrong when he woke up that morning and saw his dog on the street outside the house and found the front door open, and the house a mess. The judge on that occasion described Rasul as a “career criminal” who exists by stealing goods “without regard to the consequences”, and sentenced him to 40 months in prison. The defendant was released from prison with permission when he traveled to the Dulais Valley home and entered. Due to the previous theft penalty the Apostle was subject to the mandatory minimum sentence as a so-called “third assault” thief, i.e. three years in prison.
Susan Ferrier, for Rasul, said the background of the offense was the defendant’s longstanding heroin addiction. He said his client had been on the script – a prescription for methadone in place of heroin – at the time of the robbery but had been unable to get any medication for about five weeks. He said the Apostle was disappointed in himself to return to court and hoped, through him, to apologize.
Recorder Mark Powell QC told the Apostle that due to the circumstances of the early-morning robbery and the defendant’s “terrible” criminal record, the minimum sentence was “grossly inadequate”.
With a quarter deduction for his guilty plea, the Apostle was sentenced to a total of 45 months in prison consisting of 45 months for robbery and 12 months for concurrent theft. The accused will serve up to half that period of detention before being released with a license to serve the remainder in the community.
Recorder Powell warned Apostle that if he returned to the robbery house after his release, the prison sentence he would face would be longer.
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