A prolific burglar found with a book called ‘Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief’ was caught after bungling a raid by leaving his DNA at the scene and allowing his face to be caught on CCTV.
Peter O’Halloran, 49, carried out a series of home invasions in five counties over three years, stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash, gems and other valuables.
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His most high-profile jobs, which was featured on the BBC‘s Crimewatch show, involved an estimated £700,000 haul of designer watches, jewellery and other family heirlooms from an elderly Northamptonshire couple in 2019.
O’Halloran bypassed their security systems while they were out of town and spent hours in their home before making his escape.
How he was caught
He remained at large until he slipped up by leaving his DNA on a ladder used to break into a house in Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, in March last year.
CCTV also showed him sneaking around the boundary of the property, peering in through windows before entering and taking jewellery and watches.
When police raided his home near Stowmarket in Suffolk in November last year, they found a concealed compartment in a desk containing £60,000 in cash, coins worth up to £80,000, watches and bags of gems.
The total value was more than £500,000.
The defendant had a copy of ‘Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief’ in his bedroom, a 2004 autobiography by American criminal Bill Mason who claims to have stolen £27 million of property from homes and hotel rooms during his career.
His victims so far
Victims he named included Johnny Weissmuller, the US Olympic swimming legend who went on to play Tarzan in a dozen movies between 1932 and 1948, as well as the Jungle Jim series of films.
O’Halloran also had books on antiques, fine metals, jewellery and gems, while his car contained false number plates, mobile phones, cash and changes of clothes.
He was jailed for 12-and-a-half years at Cambridge Crown Court on November 17 after admitting the Guilden Morden burglary, as well as the one in Northamptonshire and another in Norfolk.
A further nine break-ins, including four in Cambridgeshire, were taken into consideration.