One of the country's most sophisticated burglars, whose cunning meant he was able to target the homes of the rich and famous for a decade, is to be sentenced for a string of offences.
Asdrit Kapaj, dubbed the "Wimbledon prowler" due to his predilection for raiding properties in the affluent south-west London community, pleaded guilty to 26 offences after his crime spree was finally brought to a halt by detectives in February.
But officers believe the married father-of-two may have been behind 10 times that number, with up to £5 million in stolen jewellery and cash lifted from homes in Wimbledon Village dating back to 2004.
Victims included German tennis star Boris Becker, while he was reportedly chased across a garden by French footballer Nicolas Anelka.
Neighbours said suspicion in the village was so rife that home owners sacked childminders, drivers and cleaners they assumed were responsible for the thefts.
Detectives said 43-year-old Kapaj, a chip shop worker who would travel down from Altrincham in Greater Manchester to commit his crimes, would be forensic in his attention to detail - even repainting a window frame he lightly damaged - to avoid raising suspicion.
At its height, Scotland Yard had a team of 50 officers working full-time to find the suspect, and had drawn up a suspects' list of around 60 criminals with a record of burglaries in the south-west London area.
But Kapaj - who arrived in the UK from Albania in the 1990s, and lived in Wimbledon for a few years at the turn of the millennium - was not among them.
A breakthrough only came when advances in DNA technology showed that two burglaries committed two years apart were carried out by the same suspect.
Police set up overt and covert operations in the area, arresting Kapaj in February this year.
He has never told police what happened to the money or jewellery he stole, which police have been unable to trace.
Resident Laurie Porter, who sits on the Wimbledon Village Safer Neighbourhood Watch panel and admitted she became an "amateur sleuth" in the hunt for the suspect, said solving the mystery engulfed the community.
Kapaj, who is in custody after admitting 22 burglaries, three attempted burglaries, and one count of going equipped for burglary, is due to be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday. He pleaded guilty to thefts totalling £497,300.
Mrs Porter said: "It was a fantastic result for the police, they have worked so hard. Asked how residents would mark Friday's sentencing, Mrs Porter said: "I think there might be some parties at the village, some parties at the pub."
Prosecutor Alexandra Boshell said: "For over a decade, Kapaj remained anonymous.