Bungling burglar caught after leaving homemade balaclava at crime scene in Mitcham

·1-min read
Paul Anthony Nielson (Met Police)
Paul Anthony Nielson (Met Police)

A bungling burglar was tracked down by police after he left his homemade balaclava covered in DNA at the scene of the crime

Paul Nielson, 54, has been jailed for five and a half years for ransacking a home in Mitcham on March 21, 2019. 

The homeowners returned at about 10pm to find their front door had been barricaded by a cupboard preventing them from getting in.

Homeless Nielson had looted most of the rooms, stealing jewellery, IT equipment and cash.

While cleaning up, the victim discovered clothing amongst the mess that was not theirs - a piece of knotted black cloth with holes to resemble a balaclava. 

It was submitted for forensic testing and Neilson’s DNA was found. 

 (Met Police)
(Met Police)

He denied the burglary but admitted the balaclava was his and claimed he had lost it or that it had been stolen by someone else who had then used it to commit the crime. 

Homeless Nielson was found guilty after a trial at Kingston Crown Court and sentenced to five years and six months in prison and 50 days electronically monitored curfew on Friday August 13. 

Detective Constable David Picken, who investigated the case, said: “To break into someone’s home and steal their belongings is a despicable crime. 

“The effects of knowing that an intruder has been in your private space, where you should feel safe, can be long lasting and incredibly damaging. 

“Thankfully, Neilson’s own carelessness has resulted in him being apprehended and imprisoned where he cannot invade the private space and possessions of law abiding members of the public for some time to come.”

Watch: Mother finds burglar, 50, hiding in her child's bedroom and chases him out of house

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