Burglar used fake police ID to break into pensioners’ homes across London during lockdown

David Kerrigan, 38, targeted a string of elderly victims around London during lockdown last year using a false police warrant card to steal thousands of pounds.

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

David Kerrigan, 38, targeted a string of elderly victims around London during lockdown last year using a false police warrant card to steal thousands of pounds.

He 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 12 victims - aged between 61 and 96 - fell for the ruse and invited him in, allowing him free reign of their homes so he could steal cash, jewellery and bank cards.

Once inside he 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 at the time.

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

David Kerrigan. Photo: SWNS
David Kerrigan. Photo: SWNS
David Kerrigan. Photo: SWNS

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, east London, and Waltham Forest, north east London, 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 the defendant involved.

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 on Friday (Nov 26), 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.

David Kerrigan. Photo: SWNS
David Kerrigan. Photo: SWNS
David Kerrigan. Photo: SWNS

Detective Sergeant Keith Faris of the Met Police, who led the investigation, said after the sentencing: “Kerrigan preyed upon the elderly and vulnerable and abused their trust by posing as a plain clothed police officer to walk away with their hard earned money and valuables.

“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.

“Once Kerrigan had been caught, he vented his frustration by racially abusing an officer. While police officers appreciate that an unfortunate part of their job is being subject to verbal abuse, racism is never acceptable and we will robustly deal with anyone who racially abuses officers or members of the public.”

Det Sgt Faris also warned residents who have doubts to use the new measures for identifying lone officers that were introduced in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard by serving cop Wayne Couzens.

He added: “This [the conviction] was a fantastic effort by my team, whose hard work resulted in Kerrigan having no choice but to plead guilty due to the overwhelming evidence they uncovered.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the public to be vigilant against distraction burglars, who often prey on the elderly and vulnerable. Distraction burglars pose as someone with fake ID or a uniform to gain your trust and access your home under a false pretence to steal.

“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. 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.”