Predators, Break-ins, locks and Pat Brown

Pat Brown in her blog post said this:

Just knowning that there is an apartment building looming over one’s crime area for people to look down on you (either breaking in or out or leaving the area with a child) would be unnerving.

Well myself and a few other readers of Stop the Myths have been trawling through the files to find all relevance to break-ins, keys, locks etc.

It has been reported that there were numerous break-ins in and around Praia da Luz.  So for a re-cap I will quote some media and Police statements that rather does make Pat Browns observations laughable.

The main statement I want to quote is that of Margaret Hall, she states:

Given that there were problems with rodents in the apartments she went out to have a look in the area at about 00.30. She left by the front door and in the darkness, by the movement sensitive lights, she saw something move and thought its was a rat. To her surprise, when she examined it closely, she saw that it was a brown shoe of a man who was watching the dark zone outside the apartments. She shouted and the man came out of the darkness, the lights were activated at which point he came towards her and said “No, no”.

She said the man was aged between 25 – 35 years, with a Mediterranean aspect with tight black curly hair. She is certain that he had a Mediterranean accent, surely Portuguese. From the only two words he said. He wore light coloured trousers and a blue checked shirt.

After this she returned to the apartment in a state of shock, it was obvious that there was no good reason for him to be hiding in the darkness outside the apartment. She said that the front door was the main door to enter the apartment, situated at the back.

When asked if she could make a sketch of the area she said she would do so.

The next day she told her superior about the incident, who in turn informed the resort manager, J.H.

She said that they appeared to be more worried about the subject of the rodents than about the man.

She did not have any contact with the Portuguese police, neither was she interviewed by them about this matter.

She makes her statement under compromise of honour.

The witness testimony of Nuno Filipe Guerreiro Da Conceicao states:

He states that the break-ins to the apartments are common, especially for burglary purposes, and that some are the result of clients leaving their doors open.

Mrs Fenn, also stated in her witness statement dated 20th August 2007 the following:

When questioned she said that she never saw any strange person or action before or after the event. She claims however, that a week previously she was the victim of an attempted robbery, which was not successful and neither was anything taken, thinking that the crying of the child could be linked to another attempted robbery in the residence.

The Daily Mail reports the day before Mrs Fenn’s statement, the following:

The under-fire Portuguese police are preparing to take a fresh look at reports of two earlier break-ins in the apartment block where Madeleine McCann and her family stayed.

Both burglaries – one in the apartment directly above the McCann’s flat – are understood to have happened two weeks before the family of five arrived at the Mark Warner Ocean Club in Praia da Luz.

One was believed to have been committed by someone with a key to the burgled apartment.

With regards to the burglary of Mrs Fenn the Daily Mail reports:

She claims she “scared off” an intruder who had broken into her apartment in the days before the McCanns arrived to stay in the holiday flat directly below her.

And the article goes on to say, with regards to the other burglary, the following:

A Scottish holidaymaker said that on the first night of her stay, she and a friend returned to the flat to find their belongings and £500 worth of foreign money had been taken.

But there was no sign of forced entry at the second floor apartment and police called to the scene told the middle-aged book-keeper that they believed someone with a key was the most likely suspect, sparking concerns about security at the complex.

With regards to the locks, especially that of Apartment 5A, one holiday maker, Paul Gordon stated:

The front door had a double lock that was difficult to lock, but we managed to do it.

Whilst another holidaymaker, Carlo Francesco D’Ambrosio stated this with regards to the lock in Apartment 5A:

We noticed that the cleaning personnel entered the apartment after one knock and did not give us time to respond. This was a bit bothersome and for this reason we would lock the door, and would leave the key in the inside lock.

After this precaution, the next day, the same thing happened and the cleaning woman entered even though the door was locked with the key in the lock.

We never found out how it was possible for a cleaning woman to enter after we had tried to prevent it.

June Hughes states in her statement:

I remember that the key to the apartment was a bit unusual. It was round and with cut segments. We noticed that the cleaning personnel knocked on the door once and would then enter in the apartment. In this sequence, we left the door always closed with the key in the lock. The next morning, the cleaning woman knocked on the door and entered normally independent of the door being locked with the key in the interior of the lock.

Another witness, Maria da Graca Guerreiro Alao Goncalves states:

– States that for as long as she has been employed [with the OC], there have been break-ins into the apartment- the most recent of which occurred on April 16, 2007, into an apartment in block 5 L, where a plasma was stolen, credit cards and a mobile telephone from the respective guests;

– The robbery was carried out when the guests had left for dinner shortly after having checked-in and left their baggage in the room;

– She remembers that she was told that no windows or doors were forced and that the guests had left the door locked, but she is not absolutely sure;

– She states that she was never told of any suspects or whether and of those that committed the crime had been identified;

Sandra Maria Dos Santos Lourenco Murtinheira also stated in her testimony about break-ins in 2006

When she got to work, she noticed the presence of the GNR and immediately thought that something had happened. She initially thought that there had been another break-in, given that in 2006, she heard of break-ins to the resort apartments.

With just those few examples, it does make Pat Browns observation rather nonsensical.  And I don’t know about the readers of this post but it rather does give more credence to either an abduction or a burglary that may have gone wrong, doesn’t it?  And wouldn’t you agree it is far easier to carry a child than a Plasma TV?

Kate McCann writes in her book:

At the police station that first afternoon, Guilhermino Encarnação had briefly mentioned three potential explanations for Madeleine’s disappearance: a burglary that had ‘changed direct’, abduction and the possibility that she had wandered off by herself.

In the coming months we would learn that burglaries were rife on that stretch of the Algarve coast (in Praia da Luz, burglars were ‘like mice’, according to one resident), and although it is difficult to imagine how a burglary could escalate into an abduction, we now know that this is not unheard of.

And one question I do wonder is how many burglaries were actually reported to the Police?

In March 2010 the Algarve Resident report the following, in an article called “Residents consider leaving Algarve”:

The reality of the level of crime in the Algarve was indicated in the fact that 91 per cent of those surveyed knew of someone who had been burgled in the last year. The majority were aware of burglaries of between one and five homes, 21 per cent knew of between five and 10 burglaries and 10 per cent had heard of more than 10 burglaries in the last year.

Some 41 per cent had themselves been burgled in the last 12 months, with 57 per cent of those burgled falling victim during the night and 43 per cent during the day.

Sixty-two per cent of the victims of burglary were not at home when the crime occurred but of the 38 per cent of those who were in their property when they were burgled 30 per cent were assaulted by the burglars.

Just 29 per cent were unaware that the crime was being committed and the majority of those who were at home, 73 per cent, chose not to confront the burglars.

Pat Brown also goes on to say this in her blog article

Apartment 5A would rank pretty much at the bottom of any abductor’s list of places to grab a kid. The only reason someone would remove a child from 5A would be of necessity. Then he would never take the route Jane Tanner claimed she saw the man carrying a child.

Now I put to Pat Brown what if there were two people involved in this crime and one was a lookout?  Looking at a map of the area I can see at least two good reasons why an abductor would walk the way he did.

All I can say, is that anybody that takes what Pat Brown says at face value, really does need to think twice.  Pat Brown is trying to lead people down one road of thinking and that being that the McCanns are lying.

The truth is simple, the truth is, whatever happened to Madeleine, happened at the hands of another person and the McCanns and their friends are not involved in what happened to their daughter.

They are victims of a heinous crime just like Madeleine is a victim, and the McCanns definitely don’t need a so-called, self-taught, home-made profiler causing them any more unnecessary heartache than they are already suffering.

Every day the McCanns have to live with the knowledge that their first-born is missing and they don’t know, for certain whether she is alive or dead.  They refuse to give up hope of finding her alive and they won’t accept that she is dead, not without solid proof.

And no matter what some people want you to believe, if you were standing in their shoes you would never give up hope of finding your child alive and you certainly wouldn’t write your child off as dead without evidence, not circumstantial evidence but solid evidence to prove otherwise.


Just one more thing, people say that there was nowhere for the Abductor/Predator to hide, when Gerry was in the apartment, what about behind the beige cot?  He could have squatted down there and Gerry would not have seen him because he did NOT switch the lights on.  Could he have heard someone coming and tried to get out of window and failed?  So he hid behind cot.  Once Gerry left apartment he knew damn well that he had time to take Madeleine.


Post updated to include the witness statements of Maria da Graca Guerreiro Alao Goncalves, June Hughs and Sandra Maria Dos Santos Lourenco Murtinheira


13 comments on “Predators, Break-ins, locks and Pat Brown

  1. Hiya.

    Your possibility 2 sounds plausible: easy to make a quick getaway. No. 1 seems less so: it doesn’t seem very wide, and I would have thought the guy would have crossed diagonally as opposed to straight across. 

    Assuming, of course, that it was Madeleine that JT saw. 

    It could also simply have been a dad carrying his child, e.g., after a dinner at a friend’s place, but then why carry the child across his arms and why park so far away? If there was no parking space nearby, it would have been easier to bring the car to the door to pick up the child. 

  2. I thought about that Carana, if the Tapas members were using the front doors which were at the back, and they had been watching the apartment over a couple of days, then perhaps they didn’t want to risk parking a car in that car park.  

    As you say carry a child and it could look like a holidaymaker taking child home.

    Re possibility number 1, if you google earth that area you can see that is a pathway just like the pathway between blocks 4 and 5. plenty wide enough to walk up with a child.

  3. I know this is a media report but again from the Daily Mail.

    It is understood that detectives are now working on the theory that Madeleine may have been the victim of a burglary which went wrong.

    Police are now re-examining a series of break-ins at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz and will interview victims of an intruder at the resort.

    One theory is that Madeleine may have been woken by a thief and that she was then killed in the apartment to prevent her screaming.

    Her body may then have been weighed down and dumped at sea. Officers are examining local tides and currents to try to pinpoint where a body could have been washed up.

    Police will speak again in the coming days to Pamela Fenn, 73, who owns an apartment above the one where Madeleine was sleeping with her brother and sister, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

    Madeleine was six days short of her fourth birthday when she vanished.

    Mrs Fenn claims to have disturbed an intruder in her flat a few weeks earlier, scaring him off.

    Her niece will also give a new statement to police, having spotted a suspicious man hanging around the apartment block on the night Madeleine vanished.

    It has been suggested the intruder may have had a key to the flat and let himself in.

    A similar claim is being made about a burglary at another apartment.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-476382/Madeleine-police-arrest-new-suspect-Britain.html#ixzz1mZJemcHH 

    I do have to ask myself, where in Mrs Fenn’s statement do the Police get a description of this robber?  Because she mentions the robbery, but there is no questioning as to the time, date, what he looked like, how he escaped, what he was wearing etc.

    And where is the statement from the people that were robbed and they think they entered via key?

  4. Re the last bit, Bren, I believe (I’m happy to be corrected) that burglaries around there would have been dealt with by the GNR (not the PJ). There may have been some cross-checking in one form or another, but it doesn’t seem at all  clear from the files. 

    I think police forces in many countries were in similar situations at the time (i.e., patchwork data collection). 

  5. Perhaps they were dealt with by the GNR, but surely they checked all of this out.  Nothing is clear in the files, is it Carana?  

    I think you only start to see organisation of the files after Rebelo took over.  But the PJ must have been thinking along those lines of burglary gone wrong because Kate mentions it in her book.And I suppose if you really think about it that could be the reason why someone took Madeleine especially if they had harmed her?  If they ever got caught for burglary the sentence would never be as harsh as that for harming a child.

  6. Carrying a plasma TV between 9-10 at night might just seem a bit more odd than someone carrying a sleeping child?

  7. A Scottish holidaymaker said that on the first night of
    her stay, she and a friend returned to the flat to find their belongings
    and £500 worth of foreign money had been taken.
    But there was no sign of forced entry at the second floor apartment
    and police called to the scene told the middle-aged book-keeper that
    they believed someone with a key was the most likely suspect, sparking
    concerns about security at the complex.The above statement speaks volumes to me Bren. No sign of forced entry, the P.J. believed someone with a key was the most likely suspect. I would say that if the door or window was not forced, then it had to be done by someone who worked there or by someone who would be able to access the keys to the apartments. Common sense really.I have always thought about the two men who were in fixing the shutters and the cleaning lady, seems to have been a very lax way of running things. Also the book for the creche left of the desk for all to see, not very security conscious at all it would seem.Madeleine’s parents are living a nightmare every single day since 3rd May 2007 and any parents in their position would do the same in their shoes, in order to find out what happened tho their child, it a natural reaction.I wish them all the luck in the world with their search and hope that S.Y. follow up the leads which were left stagnent for all this time.Great post as usual.

  8. Yes Carana, so if they were brazen enough to carry a Plasma out then who is going to take much notice of someone carrying a child?  After all this is a holiday resort, people go to other people’s apartments and then carry the children home.

  9. I know this is serious but I couldn’t help but chuckle at BB1’s comment on JATYK2

    Fancy someone walking off with a plasma screen TV!! Didn’t they know that Martha’s OH, no doubt called Elmer, was watching from the apartment block opposite?

    Perhaps Pat Brown will address, in her next blog post, what Elmer & Martha were doing the night the TV went walkies.

  10. It is obvious to me why the Abductor went the way he did.  The opposite direction leads to a well lit Main Road, while the direction he took offers a slightly longer but much quieter and darker route to the Smith Sighting and the Beach.

  11. […] in February 2012, I wrote a post about the break-ins, predators and locks and as part of that post there was a snippet from a Police Statement given by two of the Guests […]

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  13. […] Mr Luckman read this post and weep… Predators, Break-ins, locks and Pat Brown,  And with regards to these break-ins many of those statements are in the Police Files that were […]

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