A burglar caught red-handed during a break-in told the shocked occupant: “I’m thirsty, I’ve come for a glass of water.”
Slovakian-born Alexej Barczi, aged 23, of Belmont Street, Holmes, Rotherham, broke into two pensioners’ South Yorkshire homes in daylight to fund his drug habit.
Sheffield Crown Court heard he had ‘violated’ his victims’ privacy while ‘helping himself’ to various items.
Barczi was discovered inside the second home he burgled and said: “I’ve come for a glass of water.”
Beverley Tait, prosecuting, said he entered the first property on Spinnyfield in Rotherham around 5pm on September 4.
Ms Tait said: “The 85-year-old elderly gentleman was using his computer in the study and then walked into the living room.
“Himself and his wife heard a noise but didn’t think anything of it. He went back into his study around 5.45pm and found that his computer tower worth £200 had gone.”
Barczi walked 10 minutes onto Moorgate Road and entered another property.
He helped himself to a handbag and other items in an upstairs bedroom and made his way downstairs –only to find the elderly homeowner in the kitchen.
Ms Tait said: “The man asked Barczi what he was doing and tried to keep him in the house for his wife to call the police.
“Barczi then replied ‘I’m thirsty, I’ve come for a glass of water’ but left as he saw the woman on the phone.”
He was later arrested after a neighbour spotted him carrying the computer tower.
Barczi, who had a Slovakian translator in court, served a 26-week prison sentence for burglary in 2014 and had six previous offences with three convictions.
The victims said in impact statements they found the experiences ‘upsetting and traumatic’ and ‘no longer feel safe’ in their own homes.
Andrew Smith, defending, said Barczi was struggling with his drug problems.
He said: “He doesn’t appear to be settled in the UK and has not yet applied for a National Insurance number.
“His drug addiction unfortunately has taken precedent over his life.
“He does have a strong family support around him and they are willing to do everything they can to get him on the straight and narrow.”
Recorder Steven Coupland told Barczi: “This was all to fund your own drug addiction and you decided to help yourself to what you could.
“You have already served a prison sentence for this type of crime and that should’ve taught you that stealing from other people is wrong.
“You’ve shown no or very little remorse for what you have done to the victims and have shown no motivation to deal with your drug problem.
Barczi was jailed for 18 months, half to be served in prison and the rest on licence.