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Burglar jailed after forensic footwear evidence links him to the crime

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A burglar who left his victims ‘feeling vulnerable in their own home’ has been jailed thanks to forensic footwear evidence linking him to the crime.

13 months for burglar caught by footprint – Daniel Prague of Avenue Grove, Harrogate

Daniel James Prague, 18, (pictured), has been jailed for 13 months for burgling a home on Woodgate Lane in Weeton earlier this year.

In the early morning of Saturday 25 May 2019, the homeowners were alerted to a break-in at their home and went downstairs where they found a window had been forced open and all their keys, including keys to three vehicles had been stolen.

Shortly after, Prague and another 18 year-old man were arrested nearby on suspicion of burglary. CCTV from a neighbouring property showed the figures of two males acting suspiciously.

Prague and the 18 year-old refused to comment on a number of questions during police interview.  Their clothing and footwear were seized and they were released whilst the investigation continued.

A forensic scientist was able to analyse the pattern, the general wear and damage features of Prague’s footwear and match it to that of a footprint found at the burgled property.

He was arrested again but continued to reply ‘no comment’ in interview and was charged with burglary.

After pleading guilty in court, Prague, of Avenue Grove, Harrogate, was sentenced to 13 months in prison at York Crown Court on Wednesday 13 November 2019.

The other 18 year-old man was released with no further action.

Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Abigail Garford of North Yorkshire Police’s Criminal Investigation Department, said:

“This burglary has left the victims feeling vulnerable in their own home at a time that they were already under a lot of strain due to illness. They felt that if it hadn’t been for the alarm they had set that night, the consequences could have been far greater.

“This case demonstrates how advancements in forensic analysis are helping us to link offenders to their crime and prove their guilt, even when they continue to maintain their innocence.

“I am pleased with the sentence Prague has received and think it reflects the seriousness of this type of crime, which has a devastating impact on victims and leaves them feeling unsafe long after the initial incident. I hope this sentence offers reassurance that we are committed to bringing offenders to justice.”

What to do if you have been burgled

Ring 999 if you believe the offender is still in your house or has just run away; if not use the 101 number. You will be given a crime number to quote in an insurance claim, or if you want to contact police with any follow-up queries.

Try to preserve the crime scene for any forensic evidence that may be of use to the police. If possible, do not touch anything or allow your children or pets into the same rooms that the burglar has been in.

For more advice visit northyorkshire.police.uk/homesecurity

 

Last modified: November 14, 2019