Burglar used Hebrew code to break into Jewish school

By Anna Sheinman, November 16, 2012

A man has been found guilty of 15 separate burglaries of a Jewish primary school in Golders Green, where he repeatedly emptied the charity box to fund his cocaine and amphetamine addictions.

Schneur Simmons, 23, of Golders Green, was imprisoned for nine months for the repeated burglary and ransacking, often during Shabbat of Torah Vodaas primary school, which is connected to Golders Green Synagogue.

Judge Nicholas Browne, QC, said: “It is an aggravated feature that you struck these premises during the Sabbath when you knew nobody would be there.”

Simmons gained entry to the premises because the door code was written in Hebrew next to the combination pad.

His defence counsel explained that often this was all that was necessary to enter the school, because doors were left unlocked in order to avoid carrying keys on Shabbat.

Simmons stole an estimated £500 in order to fund his multiple addictions and pay off his debts to drug dealers. The court heard that he had gone to live with relatives in Israel for six months in order to conquer his drug habit, but returned to the cycle of crime and drug-taking when one of his dealers demanded money and became “increasingly threatening”.

Simmons also admitted 11 other counts of theft.

He told police: “I can’t remember, I think it was me, I’m almost certain, yes.”

He later supplied the names and addresses of his dealers to the police.

His defence lawyer said: “It goes without saying his remorse is enormous. He rang me up and said ‘what can I do to make this up to the school?”

Last updated: 11:45am, November 16 2012