Iraqi manager of jewellers in Kilburn says smash-and-grab robbers are targeting his community
- Credit: Archant
The Iraqi manager of a Kilburn jewellery shop raided by armed robbers believes his community may be targeted after his friend’s shop was hit in Kingsbury days earlier.
Talib Amin was serving customers at the Emirates jewellery shop in Kilburn High Road on Thursday when seven thieves on motorbikes smashed their way in just after midday.
Hitting the panic button to alert police he quickly herded the six women and a baby to safety in a back room while the owner Hassan Khandahari stayed to fight the intruders.
It’s the second jewellery raid in a week after The Jeweller in Kingsbury Road, owned by Mr Amin’s friend Sami Said, was attacked by eight thieves on Monday.
Mr Amin said: “We are friends for a long time. We came from Iraq together and meet every Saturday. We don’t know why it’s happening with our community. I have questions, why is this just Arabic people, we don’t know. I don’t think it’s a racist thing but why Arabic jewellers, why not Indian? In Kingsbury Road there are three Indian jewellery shops for example.
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I feel so bad. I’m don’t feel secure to run this kind of business in the future.”
The owner Mr Khandahari, sustained a black eye and a suspected broken collar bone trying to protect his livelihood.
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Thieves dragged him outside, where he was thrown to the ground and kicked then threatened with an axe while others in the group freely smashed their way through 16 trays filling bags with gold and gems including high value diamonds and emeralds.
Hameed Khandahari said his father was lucky to be alive. He said: “My dad’s still in pain. He had to go back to the hospital today for x-rays. My mum asked him why he didn’t go into the back with the others and he said he wanted to protect the shop.”
More than £20,000 was spent on the shop’s security system before it opened 70 days ago.
CCTV footage showed thieves ramming one of the three reinforced internal doors 18 times before stealing their loot in the raid that lasted two minutes 31 seconds.
One of the six women moved to safety in Kilburn said: “I was looking at the window and suddenly people were coming, all in black wearing helmets. They looked like spiders, and I screamed at the mum to grab the baby, who was in the pushchair.
I was so scared, everything happened so quickly.”
Looking back at the CCTV footage she said: “I was looking at videos of Kingsbury on Facebook a few days ago and crying when that happened and this thing was live. We were in the back, frozen, we couldn’t do anything. I’m just glad the owner is still alive.”
Several robbers made their escape in a getaway car believed by Mr Amin to be a blue Sabaru. The remaining mob fled on two motorbikes. The third crashed into a lorry and abandoned where police recovered some of the stolen goods.
The police said the Flying Squad was investigating the robbery and the raid on the Jeweller in Kingsbury would form part of that investigation in a clear sign they are linking the two attacks.
At 2.30pm on Monday an eight-strong gang, all on motorbikes, used axes and sledgehammers to smash the windows of the Kingsbury jeweller.
Angry traders threw weapons at the gang to try and thwart their escape and one man was dragged off his vehicle and held by the workers until he was arrested by police.
A 24-year-old is still in police custody.
Anyone with information of either attack should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.