Burglar raided Leeds Airbnb apartment to steal passport, leaving Australian tourist stranded
Michael Doherty was jailed for four and a half years for clandestine raids on an apartment in Leeds city center.
Justin Berry was staying in an Airbnb apartment on Headrow when the property was targeted by Doherty.
Mr Berry woke up in the early hours of November 5 last year to find his things were gone on his side.
Mr. Berry had another Macbook that Doherty failed to steal.
Software Mr. Berry used it to activate the “find my iPhone” application.
The app showed that Mr Berry’s other Macbook was on a property in Manor Farm Grove, Belle Isle, Leeds, in a house next door to Doherty’s mother’s.
Police have been contacted and Doherty has been recognized from CCTV footage of him entering the Victoria House apartment complex.
The court heard that Doherty had also broken into the same premises two months earlier and stole ten pairs of sneakers.
A hearing was held at Leeds Crown Court last month to determine the facts of the offense.
Mr Berry, who has now returned to Australia, testified via video link from a courtroom in his hometown of Melbourne.
He described how he found himself without money or a passport and had to travel to London to obtain documents allowing him to return to Australia.
He said: “It basically meant that I was stuck in a foreign country with no form of identification, money or contact for a while, so it was pretty scary.
“But also extremely inconvenient.”
Doherty testified and told the court he was homeless at the time and entered the apartment complex to dry off as it was raining heavily.
The 33-year-old claimed he took a backpack from a hallway but was unaware there were valuables inside.
He said he left the backpack on the street outside the property without taking anything out of the bag.
Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, asked Doherty, “Why did you take it?
The accused replied, “I don’t know to be honest with you, judge.”
Prosecutor Dave Mackay asked Doherty, “Do you have any explanation as to why the computer was next to you a few days later?”
Justice Bayliss rejected Doherty’s account. He said: “The only common sense conclusion is that the only reason to take the backpack is to use it to take the loot, and that’s what we see it do.
“My assessment is that there was significant planning.”
The case was adjourned to allow for mental health reporting.
Imprisoning Doherty today, Judge Tom Bayliss, Qc, said: “The fact that it was committed in the middle of the night makes it an aggravating factor. “
Doherty has 11 previous convictions, including one for burglary.
Stephen Holland, mitigating, said Doherty, a trained chef, was sorry for what he had done,