Man remanded in custody after string of bizarre thefts

Dundee Sheriff Court
Dundee Sheriff Court

A brazen thief who snuck in to a man’s hotel room through a window, stole his mobile phone and car keys from his bedside table as he slept, then made off with the victim’s motor was today (Wednesday) behind bars.

John Forbes was later responsible for a bizarre string of thefts in which he stole one vehicle in Broughty Ferry then drove it 25 miles to Perth where he stole another car and left the first motor sitting with its doors wide open at the scene.

In the first incident Nicholas Jones was staying at the Invercarse Hotel in Dundee’s Perth Road when he awoke late to find his phone - which he was using as an alarm clock - had gone missing.

He then discovered his car keys had also been stolen as he lay asleep - and then used to take his £30,000 Volkswagen Amarok pick up truck from the car park.

In the later crimes Forbes first stole a Fiat 500 from a house in Broughty Ferry on September 27 this year.

The following day a resident in Perth’s Glebe Terrace found her car had been stolen as she sat in her home - then found the stolen Fiat 500 sitting wide open next to where it had been parked.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “In relation to the hotel theft the 34-year-old victim had set an alarm on his phone for 7.15am.

“At 8am he wakened and wondered why his alarm had not gone off.

“His mobile phone had been taken from the room and his car keys were also gone.

“He then found his car had been taken from the car park.

“CCTV identified the accused and an examination of the room found his fingerprints on the window through which he entered.”

Miss Robertson added: “In relation to the other offence the car was taken from an address in Broughty Ferry while its occupant was on a night out.

“The following day a resident in Glebe Terrace, Perth, was aware of her dog barking and found her gate open and banging in the wind.

“She then became aware that her car had been stolen and the keys had been taken from her kitchen.

“She found a car with its door open outside her home.

“It was the Fiat 500 that had been stolen in Broughty Ferry the previous evening.”

Forbes (36), a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to seven charges of theft.

Defence solicitor advocate Jim Laverty said: “He has suffered considerably from the revolving door syndrome of prison from an early age.

“When he gets out he has good intentions and goes to live with his mother, but she can’t keep him for more than a few days.

“He then ends up a few weeks later living in hostels and losing that hope, which leads him to drugs and then offending.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and remanded Forbes in custody meantime.

He said: “I’m making you no promises, but I will call for a report.

“This can’t go on - if we can break the cycle it is work doing in everyone’s interest.

“These are serious matters and I will treat them seriously.”