A burglar has been jailed after being caught stealing bikes from a family’s garage – before being tackled to the ground by the brave homeowner as he tried to get away.
Homeless heroin addict David Eichler, aged 36, was heard as he broke into a garage attached to a property on Amanda Drive in Hatfield, Doncaster, at 1am on July 14 this year.
Sheffield Crown Court was told that homeowners John and Denise Parry went downstairs after hearing a noise in their garage.
Mr Parry saw his daughter’s bike resting outside against the fence – and then spotted the defendant carrying his wife’s bike out the garage above his head.
As Eichler tried to run away, he was grabbed by Mr Parry – with the resulting struggle resulting in several injuries to the homeowner.
The court heard Mr Parry, who was wearing shorts and sandals, had to have his little toe glued after he sustained an open wound to it during the incident, as well as suffering extensive bruising to the right hand side of his body.
The incident came to an end after neighbours came out of the house and helped to restrain Eichler until police arrived. A victim impact statement given to the court by Mr Parry, whose teenage daughter witnessed the incident from her bedroom, said: “This incident has highlighted to me this kind of thing can happen again.
“I’m concerned about my own capabilities to deal with this kind of thing again. I feel I was lucky on the night and I’m concerned for my own safety and the safety of my family.”
When Eichler was arrested he was found to be in possession of a sat nav that had been stolen from a car parked on the same road minutes before the attempted bike theft.
When first interviewed, Eichler made no comment about the thefts but said he had ‘come off worse’ from the struggle on the street.
The court was told Eichler had committed the thefts after relapsing into drug-taking and ‘trying to get anything he could to sell to fund his habit’.
Judge Mark Gargan said Eichler, who has a criminal record dating back to when he was 16 including convictions for burglary, theft and drugs offences, had a ‘long-standing heroin addiction’.
Sentencing, Judge Gargan said the householder had ‘sustained quite unpleasant injuries to his foot’. He said Eichler would have received a sentence of two years in jail, but this was reduced to 16 months due to his guilty plea.
Eichler admitted non-dwelling burglary, theft from a motor vehicle and assault.