Two Cardiff crooks who specialised in stealing car keys from Penarth homes – and then taking their pick of the cars parked in the driveways – have been jailed after attempting to sell stolen vehicles to undercover police.
The two men, Dean Cronin and Daniel Gordon, were caught when they attempted to sell £100,000 worth of top-of-the-range cars to “customers” who turned out to be undercover police.
The police officers – posing as illicit car-buyers in a “sting” operation called “Red Anvil”- were offered an Audi A3 and a Nissan Juke which had both been stolen from the driveway of the same house in Penarth – before the owners were even aware that they’d been burgled and that their cars had disappeared.
Cronin and Gordon however found that the undercover police – posing as their customers – drove a hard bargain when it came to “buying” the stolen cars for cash. Police snapped-up £110,000 pounds’ worth of luxury cars in a deal which netted the criminals a paltry £5,400. One car the crooks “sold” was a 2014 Mercedes GLA, worth an estimated £31,000, for just £1,200.
After six months of gathering evidence on cars stolen not only in Penarth but across South Wales, the police team closed in on the criminals on Tuesday January 3rd and arrested Cronin and Gordon .
The two car thieves had both pleaded guilty to conspiring to handle stolen goods when they had appeared in magistrates court last month . Yesterday in Cardiff Crown Court Dean Cronin was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment and Daniel Gordon was jailed for 20 months
Operation Red Anvil was run by police officers from the Cardiff Organised Crime Unit and supported by officers from the Welsh Regional Organised Crime Unit.
South Wales Police Detective Inspector Dean Taylor, said: “Dean Cronin and Daniel Gordon headed up an organised crime group which was behind a relentless campaign of crimes across the region.They created the market for stolen vehicles and in doing so they inflicted misery and the trauma of being the victim of a burglary upon lots of people. The cars which they sold-on would have been stripped down for parts or cloned which means they would continue life on our roads as unregistered, illegal and therefore unsafe vehicles.”
As far as the house burglaries are concerned South Wales Police say “extensive investigations are ongoing to secure convictions for the burglaries which fuelled their illegal operation.”