Ian Carney, 42, of no fixed address, was caught in the act in February by a couple in Corrance Road, who returned home to find the front door to their flat kicked in.
Although they locked Carney in the flat from the outside, he managed to escape through a window with a mobile phone, jewellery and other valuables.
It was not until May, when a vigilant Lambeth police officer spotted Carney in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, that he was arrested and charged with burglary.
Training detective constable Craig Rossi said: “Burglary is such a sensitive crime and can cause great upset to the victims who have had their personal space invaded and property stolen.”
He added: “From the scene of the crime we were able to establish a DNA link to Carney so it was just a matter of time before we caught him. We will always use our specialist skills and the tactics available to us to apprehend those criminals who feel they can take what is not theirs.”
Ian Carney was found guilty and sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment by a judge at the Old Bailey on Thursday (November 2).