Joseph Kaleja escapes jail after burgling five homes
A SERIAL burglar smashed his way into a woman's home, claiming he was being chased by men with bottles.
But the victim realised she was being burgled when she saw her kitchen and lounge windows ruined, a court heard.
Joseph Kaleja, 24, a Czech dad and a former heroin addict, asked her not to ring the police before he ran off from her Worcester Street home on November 22 last year. It was just one of five burglaries in which Kaleja, from Goodyere Street in Gloucester, stole £3,000 worth of goods. He admitted them all at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday.
He broke into homes at Raglan Street on October 7, Stroud Road on October 30, Derby Road on November 7 and Carmarthen Street, also on November 22.
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Prosecutor Tim Hills said two of his victims spoke of being angry and feeling insecure following the break-ins.
Laptops, jewellery, iPads, Christmas presents and a Playstation 3 were among the items taken.
Steve Young, defending, said Kaleja was a supervisor at a cleaning company before he was made redundant and fell into drug use.
He said: "He had to go on benefits and that is when the problem began as he started to mix with people that were also unemployed and using heroin.
"He started to use it and that escalated quite quickly. He started to steal from shops to fund his habit and his relationship broke down because of the drug use."
Mr Young said since he was remanded in custody four months ago he had overcome his addiction.
He added: "He is someone who is genuinely remorseful and someone that does not want to go back to drug use."
Recorder Michael de Navarro QC sentenced him to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.
He ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and attend a thinking skills programme with education and employment training.
He told Kaleja: "I am sure you realise domestic burglary is a very serious offence because of the effect it has on the victims.
"You can talk the talk, but the question is, can you walk the walk?
"I hope you have changed and that this sentence will give you the opportunity to prove it."
Kaleja replied: "You have my word."