A man has been found guilty and sentenced to six years' imprisonment for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle.
Richard Flanagan, 27 (11.12.90), of Heathfield Park Drive, Romford was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 22 June.
He was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to rob and three years for conspiracy to steal, to run concurrently.
The court heard that on 29 September 2017, a 27-year-old woman had driven to a primary school on Meads Lane in Ilford; when she stopped her car, she was approached by two males who threatened her with a knife. She was robbed of her phone and purse, before they took her white Audi A5 Cabriolet, worth over £20,000.
The next day - 30 September 2017 - at around 07:30hrs, a 54-year-old taxi driver was robbed of his takings, phone and black Mercedes C Class worth £15,000 outside his home in Ilford.
He had been approached by three males who brandished a knife and threatened him, demanding he hand over the keys to his car. He tried to run back to his car and used the central locking but one of the suspects managed to open the door before he could lock it. The two other suspects forced him out of his car and searched him for property.
One of the suspects was seen driving a white Audi A5 Cabriolet, thought to be the vehicle stolen the day before. To date, the Mercedes has not been recovered.
Only 30 minutes after the second robbery, a 69-year-old woman was driving home to Rainham after dropping her son off at work, when she noticed that there was a car following her. Having parked her car, she was approached by two suspects who stole her brand new BMW 2 series worth £20,000.
A further 20 minutes later, the white Audi was involved in a police pursuit travelling from South End Road, heading towards the A13. The car crashed into a central reservation and Flanagan was seen on CCTV.
A few weeks later, on 11 October 2017, a 20-year-old man was approached by two suspects in possession of a knife at the Becontree Health Centre who stole his Fiat 500.
An hour or so later, Flanagan was seen in the driver's seat of the Fiat and was recognised by an officer from the proactive unit. Enquiries discovered that Flanagan had been seen to use the Esso garage at Wanstead with the stolen Fiat, where he made off without payment.
Officers established that the incidents were all linked.
Flanagan was identified via forensic evidence from the recovery of the stolen vehicles as his DNA was found on the driver controls, including the steering wheel, the gear stick and inside door handle.
He was arrested on 22 December 2017 and found to have breached his licence. He was subsequently charged on Thursday, 18 January.
Judge Gordon, said: "All the victims must have been extremely frightened and significantly affected for what was a terrible experience."
Investigating officer Detective Constable Michael Lai, of the East Area Command Unit, said: "We're very pleased to have secured this conviction and sentencing for what was a horrible series of offences. The victims were all minding their own business when they were confronted by a group of men armed with a knife, and robbed of their personal property and their vehicles.
"Flanagan has shown no remorse and elected to have a trial despite the evidence against him. I would like to thank the victims for coming forward and for their support.
"Enquiries continue to trace the other suspects, who can be sure that the East Area Command Unit will do everything possible to find them. Flanagan meanwhile, now has a substantial amount of time to think about what he has done."
During court proceedings Flanagan was also found guilty of conspiracy to burgle.
In relation to the burglaries the circumstances were:
On 13 September 2017, between 00:00 and 05:00hrs, a burglary took place on Southern Drive in Ilford where a Nissan Note was stolen. When the vehicle was recovered two weeks later, Flanagan's DNA was found inside.
On 15 October 2017, an attempted burglary took place on Wellesley Road in Ilford. Flanagan was caught on camera walking up to the front door and attempting to force entry.