Smooth-Talking Criminal Fools Police
March 27, 2002 8:07 am EST
LONDON (Reuters) - Red-faced British police on Wednesday promised to find out why officers allowed a burglar to walk free after they accepted his made-up story over the telephone.
Newspapers reported that the mix-up started when a suspicious neighbor called police in Manchester after he saw a man loitering near a friend's van.
Instead of sending out a patrol car, officers asked that the suspect be put on the telephone -- and then accepted his story that he was not committing a crime.
Police later admitted the smooth-talking criminal made off with 600 pounds ($1,000) worth of tools from the van.
"It is extremely embarrassing...I was appalled by the story," a Manchester Police spokesman told BBC radio.
"I'm determined we will put this right and mount a full investigation to find out what went wrong," he said.
Carole Curley, one of the owners of the burgled van, told the Daily Mail: "This is an absolute disgrace. A crime was being committed and police could not send anyone out".
The police spokesman said the force was overstretched on the night of the embarrassing crime, but was "determined to catch the perpetrator".