West Midlands police have issued this statement about the jailing of a car thief which contains a warning for anyone considering selling a vehicle from their home:
Nine years jail for test drive car robber
A man who posed as a prospective car buyer to steal vehicles during test drives − leaving some owners injured in the road after they clung desperately to the car − has been jailed for nine years following a West Midlands Police investigation.
Adam Bodycote, from Beech Road in Wednesbury, targeted motorists who’d listed cars with online sales sites including eBay and Gumtree.
He struck 12 times between 5 December last year and 8 February at addresses in the Black Country and used a range of tactics to distract sellers before speeding away in cars including BMWs, Mercedes and Audis.
During one car robbery in Moat Road, Oldbury, on 22 January 28-year-old Bodycote dragged the victim for several metres as he held onto the door frame; he narrowly missed a lamppost before being flung onto a grass verge.
Labourer Bodycote was identified when he inadvertently linked his own WhatsApp account to the phone number he used to communicate with his victims − and from which detectives seized his photograph.
Bodycote was listed as wanted on national police systems and went on the run as West Midlands Police carried out several warrants at addresses linked to him; he was eventually found hiding back at his home address on 16 February after specialist entry officers smashed down the front door.
And at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday (May 11) he admitted seven car thefts, three robberies, petrol theft and driving while disqualified.
Detective Tom Finney, from West Bromwich Investigation Team, said: “Bodycote used a range tactics to manufacture opportunities to be left alone inside the cars: getting owners to pop the bonnet while he revved the engine or asking them to get documentation from the house − and when the opportunity arose he sped off.
“But on some occasions, when sellers became suspicious, he used violence to snatch the keys.
“He admitted his guilt after seeing the mountain of evidence we had against him and was jailed; we hope that this will offer justice for his victims.”
And Det Con Finney advised people to take safety precautions when using online sales sites.
He added: “Such sites encourage sellers to meet prospective buyers in a public place in daylight.
“Obtain as much information as possible about the interested buyer − and always make sure you are not alone when the person visits. Arrange to have someone with you, a friend, relative or neighbour.”
List of offences:
• 5 December 2016, Heather Road, Smethwick − stole Vauxhall Astra
• 13 December, Mace Street, Cradley Heath – stole Audi A3
• 28 December, Priestley Road, Walsall – stole Black BMW 3 series
• 31 December 2016, Cakemore Road, Blackheath − stole BMW 5 series
• 2 January, D’urberville Road, Walsall − stole Black Vauxhall Astra
• 10 January, Drayton Street, Walsall − stole Mercedes C220
• 18 January, Prospect Row, Dudley – stole Silver BMW 5 series
• 22 January, Moat Road, Oldbury – stole Grey BMW 1 series
• 26 January, Lyttleton Street, West Bromwich – stole Silver Audi Q7
• 2 February, Milton Street, Walsall − stole Black Audi TT Quattro
• 3 February, Stonehurst Road, Walsall − stole Black Volvo C30 Sport
• 8 February, Mission Close, Blackheath – stole Black Ford Focus ST