A Good Samaritan helped a struggling man carry bags of gear down several flights of stairs, unaware he was in the middle of robbing his next door neighbour’s home.
The helpful neighbour accidentally helped Lewis Reid take bags of stolen swag worth nearly £3,000 out into the street.
It was only after having to remind Reid about stuff he had left behind on the common staircase that the kindly tenant became suspicious about the 49-year-old.
Depute fiscal Charmaine Gilmartin told Dundee Sheriff Court that the Albert Street flat was one of two top-floor properties Reid had entered through the roof.
She said: “At 4.15pm on Saturday December 7 2019 the complainer left his home address. At 6pm a neighbour who resides in a flat on the same landing left his property.
“He noticed a bag of belongings on the landing halfway down the staircase. He thought nothing of this and continued down the stairs, at which point he caught up with the accused who seemed to be struggling to carry various items down the stairs.
“Initially thinking that the accused was a resident of the block, the neighbour asked if he could assist him in carrying the items.
“The accused agreed and they both exited the block of flats out on to Albert Street. At this point the neighbour reminded the accused that he had left a bag on the landing at the top of the stairs.
“The accused tried to enter the secured, closed door, but it was locked. He stated to the neighbour that he didn’t have a key and asked if he would allow him access to the block – which he did.
“At this point the neighbour became more suspicious of the accused.”
He contacted police and when they arrived they discovered Reid had got in through a shared attic space and had left a hole in the victim’s kitchen ceiling where he had fallen through it.
He had stolen three guitars, five games consoles, two laptops and various other items from the third-floor flat.
Reid struck again two days later when he again created a hole in the ceiling of a fourth-storey flat to enter it from the roof space.
This time he left a pair of trainers behind and CCTV footage showed him with the trainers in the street a short time before the robbery took place.
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said: “These housebreakings must have involved an element of premeditation. They were planned and required some effort, care and skill to carry out.
“They also involved causing damage to the properties and distress to the occupiers.”
Reid, from Dundee, admitted breaking into a property in Albert Street on December 7 last year and stealing goods worth £2,500.
He also admitted breaking into another home in Crichton Street two days later and stealing a haul of goods worth £1,600. Reid, who was said to have a weighty previous record, was jailed for 27 months.