VIDEO: Ten years in jail for gang member who targeted Wembley jewellers in £1m robbery spree
- Credit: Archant
A member of a Romanian gang who targeted a string of Asian and Turkish jewellery shops, including one in Wembley, has been jailed for 10 year.
Gheorghita Purice, 21, was part of a violent mob behind a £1million six-month long robbery spree where seven premises were stormed and their display cabinets were emptied within minutes before police could respond to alarms.
In March 2012, Raj Jewels in Ealing Road, was robbed of £500,000 worth of goods by the gang who had come to the UK with the intention of robbing jewellery shops of large amounts of high-quality gold.
Between November 2011 and September 2012, the gang used an identical Modus Operandi to gain entry into the shops where a robber would either be dressed in pin-stripes and a trilby hat, or pose as an elderly lady so he would be buzzed in.
He would hold the door open for his accomplices who would smash the cabinets with sledgehammers.
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They also struck in Brmingham, Ilford, East Ham, Turnpike Lane and Walworth Road and in some cases, including the robbery in Wembley, they would set fire to a vehicle in the street to distract the emergency services as they made their escape.
Purice was identified as a gang member but had fled to Belgium where he was arrested for carrying out a similar robbery in May 2012.
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He was bailed but failed to turn up for his trial and was convicted in his absence and sentenced to four years.
He was later arrested and jailed in Belgium before he was extradited back to the UK and charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.
He admitted the charge at the Old Bailey earlier this month and was sentenced today.
He will be deported after he has served his jail term.
DS Andrew McGuire, from the Met’s Flying Squad ,said: “Purice is part of a large group of Romanian men who have committed robberies across Europe, often being armed with hammers, firearms and stun grenades.
“Many of the group are now in custody across the continent awaiting sentencing for their part in offences in Italy, France, The Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.
“Without the continued help of the Romanian authorities and Europol it is clear that this dangerous criminal would never have been caught and subsequently convicted.”
Ioan Gavrilut, 27, Marius Andrei Barbu, 26, Gheorge Macovei, 24, and 23-year-old Iulian Culba, were jailed for their role in the robbery in Wembley, in March last year.