Thief who ‘grinned’ at used car dealer during vehicle theft is handed lengthy prison term

  • ‘Grinning’ car thief and burglar jailed for 12 years
  • Martin McDonagh taunted salesman after making off with VW Golf from Midlands showroom
  • Car was later used in another attempted burglary on an industrial estate

Time 11:09 am, April 19, 2024

A ‘grinning’ thief who taunted a used car dealer as he stole a VW Golf has been handed a lengthy prison sentence

Martin McDonagh – also known as Thomas – pretended to be a customer in order to get behind the wheel of the hatchback, which was for sale at a second-hand car showroom in Binley Woods, Warwickshire.

While sat in the driver’s seat the 46-year-old crook asked if he could start the engine, to which the salesman agreed.

However, he then made off with the car – grinning at the dumbstruck salesman as he fled the scene.

The incident took place on July 30, 2022 with McDonagh taking the stolen car to a nearby industrial estate later that day.

Once there, he and an accomplice placed a freezer in front of a roller shutter door before reversing the car into it to gain entry to a building.

Security footage then caught the pair leaving the building and confirming that there was ‘nothing there’.

The Golf was later recovered by West Midlands Police when it crashed in Coventry on August 2.

McDonagh, formerly of Thorney Road, Coventry, was then arrested in connection to the incidents and has now CCTV enquiries identified McDonagh as the suspect and he was interviewed in connection with the incidents.

He has now appeared at Warwick Crown Court where he was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison after admitting to that theft and an attempted burglary in Nuneaton.

The charges formed part of a total 12-year sentence for a series of burglaries and thefts in the West Midlands.

Speaking after the sentencing, investigating officer, Detective Constable Chris Stowe from Warwickshire Police, said: ‘McDonagh might have been grinning as he drove away, but it was police and his victims who have had the last laugh, seeing him jailed for a very long time.’

A spokesman for the force added: ‘Vehicle crime remains a priority for us and we regularly take action against suspected chop shops and car thieves.

‘We do not underestimate the impact this crime has on people’s lives and are working hard to bring these offenders to justice.

‘We know the huge inconvenience of vehicle crime on your livelihoods, and personal lives, which is why we’re determined to take this action.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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