Ben Crittenden was found guilty of nine charges of burglary and sentenced at Guildford
Crown Court today (Tuesday 28 April) for the offences committed at sheltered housing complexes in the West Molesey and Cobham areas, while other victims lived at private houses across Elmbridge.
The 26-year-old of Cornwall Way, Staines-upon-Thames preyed upon his customers as he worked and stole items including a £38,000 ring and a box containing the ashes of a widow’s husband.
Officers were able to bring him to justice after distributing around 1,000 leaflets in the Elmbridge community on New Year’s Eve in 2013 which showed images of stolen jewellery and disclosed it had been recovered from a window cleaner.
This enabled the investigation team from Staines CID to build up a pattern of offending and confirm that Crittenden was responsible.
He was also linked to the crimes when a brooch was found in the glove box of his van, which was subsequently identified as being stolen by a victim.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Ben Kirby said: “Ben Crittenden has caused untold heartache to his victims, which is made all the worse given their age.
“Victims have told us how this has dramatically changed their lives with some now unable to sleep without the light on or trust others.
“I hope the lengthy sentence will be of some comfort to them as well as demonstrating to the public just how seriously we take these matters.
“I would like to thank the community for the part they played in this investigation. The reaction we received to the leaflets we dropped in the area was crucial as it confirmed our suspicions that Crittenden was behind these offences.”