Carjack couple, who targeted mourners, face jail
A couple who joined forces to carry out a series of audacious car-jackings, are waiting sentence.
Frank Brooks, 29, of Canning Town, and girlfriend Frankie Pellicci, 30, from Buckingham Court, Romford, conspired to steal 20 high-value cars in a crime spree last year.
Brooks even lay in wait in cemeteries to steal mourners’ vehicles.
He was driven to the crimes by Pellicci who stored her boyfriend’s number in her phone under the name Memphis Raines – the character played by Nicholas Cage in the hit film Gone in 60 Seconds, about a car thief.
Brooks would also trick motorists into getting out of their cars by placing an obstruction in the road.
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When the motorist got out to clear it he would jump into the driver’s seat and speed off, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Victims who tried to stop him were driven at and one was dragged down the street when he grabbed the door handle of his cars.
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Heidi Stonecliff, prosecuting, said: “For the most part, these cars were taken by distraction thefts, so on seven occasions a bin or a clump of earth was placed in the path of the car.
“What happens thereafter is the person gets out of their car in order to move the obstruction, and then Mr Brooks jumps in and drives it away.”
Brooks targeted mourners on five occasions, four times at Barkingside cemetery.
Police estimate the stolen cars worth at least �250,000, but they were sold for a fraction of the price.
Seven of the 22 thefts became robberies when drivers tried to stop the thief.
The court also heard that Brooks and two unknown accomplices robbed a minicab driver at knifepoint of his VW Touran before shoving him out of the car.
Brooks and Pellicci were both found guilty of conspiracy to steal.
Brooks was also found guilty of six counts of robbery, while the jury found he was guilty of the alternative charge of theft on a seventh count.
He had pleaded guilty to a further offence of handling stolen goods after police found bundles of stolen lottery scratchcards when they raided his home.
Pellicci was cleared of the same offence on the direction of the judge.
They will be sentenced in November.