A Birmingham car key gang stole 100,000 pounds from Audi and Mercedes in a criminal wave

A Birmingham car key gang stole 100,000 pounds from Audi and Mercedes in a criminal wave

Ruthless car key thieves harvested over £ 100,000 from Audi and Mercedes cars during raids across Birmingham and Solihull.

But gang member Karl Whitfield, 39, was arrested after a high-speed chase in which stones were thrown at a police car.

The Birmingham Crown Court heard that the career criminal had an astonishing 75 previous convictions for 135 crimes.

Whitfield, of Alcester Road South, Maypole, has now been imprisoned for three years and four months after pleading guilty to burglary and carjacking conspiracy.

The raids were carried out at two addresses in the Heath Kings and one at Solihull between December 13 and January 4.

Each time the locks were broken and the homeowners woke to discover that their cars had been taken.

A Mercedes worth £ 28,000, an Audi worth £ 38,000 and another Mercedes worth around £ 40,000 were taken from the drives, plus the Astra.

Two days after the last raid on January 6, a police officer saw Astra in Robin Hood Lane, Yardley Wood, with four people on board.

The police chase began and the stolen car sped up, reached 88 mph and drove the car on the wrong side of a dual road.

On one occasion, those inside threw stones and paving slabs at the police car that was following them.

Astra accelerated to 100 mph, flying over speed bumps towards Druids Heath, but eventually curbed before it stopped.

Timothy Harrington, the attorney general, said the four men who were inside ran away but Whitfield was arrested in an alley, “losing their breath, sweating and wearing dark clothes.”

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His phone was seized with incriminating messages, including one saying, “How much do you sell a Mercedes?”

Judge Avik Mukherjee said in ruling that Whitefield had sentenced him to 75 convictions for 135 crimes.

He added, “All three robberies have been planned, and I am satisfied with the theft of the cars with the aim of selling them in the near future.”

“You have become involved in an organized criminal group and put yourself in a position where others know they may get involved with you.

“Every overnight they were planned professionally.”

Defender Jonathan Vissy-Pugh said the reason for the offense was that Whitfield was a debtor and had been threatened and attacked as well.

He said the cars were sold at a much lower price than they were worth.

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