A man described as Aberdeen’s version of Oliver Twist after being taught to be a thief at the age of just 10 has been jailed for 27 months.
Veteran housebreaker Kevin Leslie’s life of crime began in childhood and has landed him in prison once again.
The 44-year-old’s latest crime was breaking into two high-rise flats and stealing gadgets, cash and bank cards as the occupants slept.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told he was caught after one of the owners spotted footprints on the worktop of her Hutcheon Court home.
At the first flat Leslie made off with two laptops, a DVD player and a purse with bank cards.
He then broke into the neighbouring property and made off with a woman’s laptop, cigarettes and medication.
One of the victims received a text from her bank at 4.50am stating her card was being monitored after an unusual attempt to use it. Assuming this was spam she went back to sleep.
The other victim’s suspicions were raised at 5.30am when she noticed an air vent was dislodged and a window was open in her kitchen.
Women noticed intruder’s footprints
Fiscal depute Lynne MacVicar told Aberdeen Sheriff Court there were “footprints on the kitchen counter leading from the window”.
The first victim was alerted to this by her neighbour and after finding her air vent and kitchen window also dislodged, she checked her digital bank statement.
Leslie had attempted to use her card at the ATM at Sainsbury’s on George Street at 4.18am and 4.35am.
He had also used it for a contactless spend of £21.50 at nearby L & M Stores on Hutcheon Street at 4.27am.
Police were contacted, checked security cameras at the Sainsbury’s and identified Leslie. They visited his home and waited for him to return. He did so in the same clothes as he’s just been caught on camera in.
A text message on his phone contained mention of how he “would get his hands on laptops”.
Aberdeen’s own Oliver Twist
Leslie’s defence agent Iain Hingston suggested that background reports showed that “despite having committed these terrible crimes, he does seem to come across very well”.
He said his client had led a “depressing life” since he was young.
“Since the age of 10 he had been taught to be a housebreaker,” he added.
“There’s a bit of a Fagin-Oliver picture here. It’s incredibly depressing.”
Despite the comparison to Oliver Twist – the child taught to be a pickpocket by gang leader Fagin in the 1838 Charles Dickens novel – Mr Hingston said Leslie “comes across as contrite and understanding”.
“He had a witness impact awareness that is often lacking in these cases,” he added. “He would not be surprised if the charges warrant a custodial sentence.”
Sheriff Morag McLaughlin agreed, replying: “You are realistic.”
“I cannot find a justification for imposing anything other than a custodial sentence given your record,” she added.
Leslie’s 27-month sentence was backdated to May 21, when he was first remanded in custody.
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