A thief, who used wigs in an attempt to disguise himself as he stole from others in Thanet, has been jailed for 15 years.
Darren Giardina stockpiled several different wigs to try and conceal his identity during a crime spree which ran between July and September 2019 and on one occasion saw a victim tied up while their home was ransacked.
The 44-year-old, of no fixed address, was found guilty of two counts of burglary and robbery following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court and was sentenced on Tuesday 5 May.
Giardina’s offending reached its peak on Friday 6 September, when he was one of two robbers who targeted a property in Swinburne Avenue in Broadstairs and demanded money from the resident. The victim was tied up while his home was searched and numerous items were stolen, including jewellery, an engraved pocket watch, an antique pistol and an antique musket.
These items were found around a week later at a property in Ramsgate which had also been burgled. The victim of the second burglary reported that while furniture and other goods from their Bellevue Road property had been stolen, a bag containing things which matched the missing items from Swinburne Avenue had been left there. Fingerprints belonging to Giardina were also found by forensic officers.
The investigation into Giardina’s movements uncovered CCTV, showing he was one of the robbers and was dressed in a wig during the incident. Enquiries showed he had worn other wigs during further offences between July and September.
He was captured on CCTV stealing a copper water tank from a property in Newcastle Hill, Ramsgate, on 27 July and was also seen stealing from a car on 24 August in Salisbury Avenue, Broadstairs, while wearing another wig. In court, he admitted the theft from the motor vehicle.
When officers arrested Giardina on 18 September, he was wearing a black wig. A search of the property he was seen coming out of then led to the recovery of more wigs as well as clothing he had been seen wearing during his stealing spree.
Senior investigating officer, DS Jay Robinson from the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad said: ‘Giardina’s decision to wear wigs to try and disguise himself was undoubtedly a ‘hair-brained’ one – he was recognisable despite wearing them. He was also identified as the suspect because he left fingerprints and other evidence at the scenes which our team quickly located.
‘Perhaps Giardina will use his time in prison to consider putting his energies into something positive to benefit others, rather than party costumes to benefit his own greed.
‘Stealing from other people is despicable; the victim in the robbery was subjected to a frightening experience, and those who had their homes burgled now have to come to terms with someone rummaging through their belongings. I thank them all for supporting this investigation and wish them all the best for the future.’