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30th Nov 2021

‘Fake cop’ burglar used doctored ID to break into a dozen pensioners homes

Steve Hopkins

David Kerrigan stole from pensioners aged 61 to 96 during the Covid lockdown

A serial burglar broke into a dozen pensioners’ homes – including one aged 96 – by using a fake ID to trick them into thinking he was a police officer.

David Kerrigan targeted a string of elderly victims around London during lockdown last year using a false police warrant card to steal thousands of pounds.

The 38-year-old got into their homes by telling them two thieves had been arrested nearby and asked to come inside to check if anything had been stolen.

His victims – aged between 61 and 96 – fell for the ruse and invited Kerrigan in, allowing him free reign of their homes so he could steal cash, jewellery, and bank cards.

Once inside Kerrigan searched the rooms for anything to steal and sometimes brazenly asked the victims where they kept their cash to make stealing even easier.

In total, he stole wallets and purses containing around £4,000 in cash as well as jewellery and watches.

Kerrigan also stole bank cards which he then used in nearby shops, spending below £35 to avoid the contactless spending limit each time.

None of the stolen property was ever recovered or returned to the victims, police said.

The burglaries took place between last April and August in Kensington, Chiswick, Gunnersbury, Brent Park, and Acton in west London, plus Golders Green and South Tottenham, north London as well as East Ham, Leyton, and Walthamstow in east London.

Police caught Kerrigan when detectives investigating burglaries in Newham and Waltham Forest noticed a pattern in the bogus story being replicated across other areas.

It was not until a historic case from 2013 in Hertfordshire that Detective Sergeant Keith Faris from the Met’s North East Burglary and Robbery Unit remembered that investigators got their breakthrough.

Detectives were able to link a family member to Kerrigan and CCTV from shops where the victims’ cards were used showed it was him.

After being arrested, Kerrigan refused to go to the interview room so was questioned by detectives in his cell.

But he did not answer and instead stayed silent on his bed, until he suddenly jumped up and threatened the interviewing officer telling her she had “two seconds to leave the cell, or else”.

She then left and Kerrigan launched a racist tirade – shouting abuse through the slot in the cell door.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court last Friday, Kerrigan was jailed for nine years and 10 months after pleading guilty earlier this month to 12 counts of burglary and one charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Detective Sergeant Keith Faris of the Met Police, who led the investigation, said after the sentencing that Kerrigan had “preyed upon the elderly and vulnerable and abused their trust”.

“We will not tolerate this type of offending and we will robustly target and bring to justice those who think they can take advantage of the vulnerable and elderly.”

Faris urged anyone who has doubts about a police officer to use new measures for identifying lone officers that were introduced in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard by serving cop Wayne Couzens.

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He also offered the following advice to deal with “distraction burglars” who may pose as someone with fake ID or a uniform.

“They could say they need to check your meters, fix plumbing leaks, or virtually any official reason to enter your home – including posing as a police officer,” he said.

“Utilise your spyhole or door chain where possible and always remember to ask for an ID badge or paperwork.

“If you are in doubt, call the official number for the company they say they are from – do not call a number they give you – or contact the police.

“If they say they are a police officer, ask to see their warrant card and ask for their name and warrant number.

“If you are still in doubt, call the police on 101 to clarify what they are telling you is the truth or get the lone plain-clothed officer to use our new system, which they will be aware of, to video call a uniformed supervisor in one of our police operations rooms to provide verification and properly record the encounter.

“Any genuine police officer there for legitimate reasons would not mind you doing this, and would in fact encourage it.”