Professional burglar Ronald Coombes found a high-powered Maserati too hot to handle after taking it after stealing the key while the owner was asleep at his Leamington home.
Coombes smashed into around ten parked cars, writing off the £67,000 Maserati, as he tried to drive it away.
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard the persistent criminal’s other offences included stealing the nameplate from the old crown court in Warwick as a memento.
Coombes, 39, of Leicester Street, Leamington, was jailed for four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to burglary, attempted burglary, two charges of theft and asked for four other burglaries to be taken into consideration.
Prosecutor Richard Franck said that on June 29 a man opened the back door of his home in Clarendon Street, Leamington, to let the cat out, and went back inside to watch television.
But he fell asleep without having locked the door, and was woken at one in the morning by police officers in his home telling him his car had been stolen from the car port.
He found that the key to his £67,000 Maserati had been stolen by an intruder, together with a watch, the key to his wife’s car, and a laptop on which he had preparatory work for a masters degree.
The Maserati had been found by the police, having been abandoned after crashing into ten other cars further down the road, and it was so badly damaged that it has been written off.
And in the powerful car, the police found a partly-smoked roll-up cigarette on which Coombes’s DNA was later discovered.
On July 27 a man was at his home in Suffolk Street, Leamington, when a motion sensor linked to his laptop alerted him to someone in his back garden.
He went into his son’s bedroom from where he could see Coombes in the garden, and shouted at him, at which Coombes responded with abuse before climbing over the wall to escape.
A security camera had captured him in the garden, and Coombes, who had a large number of previous convictions including burglaries going back to the early 90s, was recognised by an officer.
Following his arrest, Coombes admitted the offences and the theft of two name plaques from outside the former crown court building in Warwick, which closed some years ago, but where he had made a number of appearances in the past.
He was also take on a ‘drive-round’ during which he told the police about the four other Leamington ‘car key burglaries’ he had asked to have taken into consideration, said Mr Franck.
Coombes had taken a £30,000 BMW after breaking into a house in Campion Terrace in May, a BMW worth £31,000 after burgling a house in Willes Road the same month, an Audi A5 following a break-in in Leicester Street, and an Audi TT after a burglary in Lansdowne Circus in July.
Spencer Stephens, defending, said: “Mr Coombes accepts there is no excuse for his offending.”
He said Coombes had been released from his last sentence in January last year, and seemed to be making progress, having formed a new relationship and secured two jobs, but lost them.
His new partner then lost their child, and after she had to move out of her former home he ended up in accommodation with people who were taking drugs, and he went off the rails and began taking cocaine and drinking to excess.
“He was stealing to provide those vehicles to the drug dealers,” explained Mr Stephens.
In relation to the crown court signs, he added: “He can’t really explain it. He had appeared there a number of times. It was the night he went off the rails, and he woke the following morning with one of the plaques next to him.”
Jailing Coombes, Judge Barry Berlin told him: “You are a professional burglar, and there was a significant degree of planning. There are a number of aggravating features, including a number of previous convictions for burglary.”