Kent: Man Jailed For Crime Spree

A man who went on a two-month crime spree across north Kent has been jailed for almost four years.

Matthew Goodwin, 27, admitted a catalogue of offences, including 27 thefts from motor vehicles, and was handed a prison sentence of three years and ten months at Maidstone Crown Court on 29 January.

Goodwin, of no fixed address, was arrested after a targeted Kent Police operation by detectives investigating a series of linked crimes that began in June 2014.

Officers investigating a number of reports that items had been stolen from cars and vans across Dartford and Gravesend began noticing similarities and soon declared the reports to be connected.

On 28 June, officers on patrol examined a Ford Focus left abandoned in Gillingham. They found a number of stolen items from the crime - including a Nikon camera stolen from a car parked overnight in Istead Rise on 26 June. Goodwin had taken photographs of himself on the camera.

Retrospective CCTV enquiries revealed he had been driving a white Citroen vehicle on 12 June. The vehicle was later discovered to have been stolen from Gillingham several days earlier. It was located abandoned in Gillingham on July 2.

After he had been identified, evidence and intelligence then linked him to a further spate of thefts from motor vehicles. Plans were put in place to arrest Goodwin, but his friends and family confirmed he was hiding from police.

Detectives out on 29 July conducting enquiries in Rochester after a Jaguar was stolen from an address in Watts Avenue spotted Goodwin driving the stolen vehicle in Maidstone Road. A pursuit ensued and the Jaguar came into collision with a tree. Goodwin leapt out and ran away but was quickly located by officers and arrested. A haul of stolen property was recovered inside the vehicle.

In total, Goodwin pleaded guilty to 27 thefts from motor vehicles, one count of aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Bill Looker, said: 'Goodwin was a one-man crime wave across three districts and caused an enormous amount of distress to his victims.

'He broke into their vehicles and stole personal items that held sentimental value. In one case he stole a vehicle and later abandoned it, and on several occasions, when he was identified through operational tactics to be driving on Kent roads, made off from police and in doing so endangered the lives of the public.

'However, this did not stop us from closing in on him. We put every possible plan in place to apprehend him and built up a dossier of evidence and intelligence around him in the meantime. When he was spotted in the stolen Jaguar, our officers flooded the area and we took him into custody, put him before the courts and brought him to justice.

'We take seriously every report of crime that comes to us and will work round the clock to ensure criminals operating across north Kent are arrested and charged. However, I'd appeal to the public to come forward to us with information about suspicious or criminal activity.'

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