Carjackers who targeted Barkingside mourners found guilty by jury
A carjacker who targeted mourners at a Barkingside cemetery is facing years behind bars.
Frank Brooks, 29, lay in wait to steal mourners’ vehicles as they laid flowers on relatives’ graves.
He was driven to the crimes by his girlfriend Frankie Pellicci, 30, who stored her boyfriend’s name under Memphis Raines – the character played by Nicholas Cage in the film Gone in 60 Seconds, which is about car theft.
Brooks would also trick motorists into getting out of their cars by placing an obstruction in the road, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Police estimate Brooks stole cars worth at least �250,000 but they were sold for a fraction of the price.
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Seven of the 22 thefts became robberies when drivers tried to stop the thief.
During a robbery at Chigwell Cemetery, Manor Road, Chigwell, the owner of a car was dragged along as he desperately clung on to the door handle.
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Four other thefts were committed at Barkingside Cemetery, Longwood Gardens, Barkingside.
Carjackings also took place at Coppice Primary School, Manford Way, Hainault, where teacher Emma Gilligan was tricked into getting out of her car, and near Gilbert Colvin School, Strafford Avenue, Clayhall.
Brooks, of Monk Drive, Canning Town, and Pellicci, of Buckingham Court, Romford, 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 the couple’s home.
Pellicci was cleared of the same offence on the direction of the judge.
Brooks remains in custody, while Pellicci was allowed to continue on bail ahead of sentencing on November 11.