Two burglars were accused of a £ 300,000 heist who drilled through walls to rob a jewelry shop under the cover of a local marathon. At George Attenborough & Son Jewellers in Fleet Street, central London, Florin-Cristin Neagu, 46, and Sorin Munteanu, 44, were charged of carrying out a "sophisticated and daring" burglary.
Over the weekend of March 23-24 last year, the pair and their partner, Nicolae Sisca, who previously confessed to robbery, carried out the search. Southwark Crown Court found that the men were attempting to break into the luxury jeweller's basement but inadvertently drilled into the surrounding William Hill betting store for the first time.
One of the men's CCTV was seen by the judges, Sisca said, crawling through the hole and looking around before they returned.
Prosecutor Philip Stott, despite extensive analysis and preparing, said the mistake was made.
Neagu stayed outside for the operation, keeping watch over the two days for more than eight hours as Munteanu went inside to assist Sisca. The court heard the collective robbed £ 298,987.21 worth of jewellery and tried to enter the safe that held additional items worth an estimated £ 400,000.
The burglary's second date, 24 March, coincided with thousands of runners running in nearby London Landmarks half marathon, giving cover.
Neagu and Munteanu were both arrested in Romania and deported back to the UK last year, after leaving the UK within 48 hours of the robbery. The group has visited the shop's immediate area regularly, like William Hill, to expand access to the jewellers ahead of the raid.
In the weeks leading up to the robbery, CCTV and data from their phones show men in the Fleet Street area and in touch with one another. Footage from the betting shop revealed Munteanu and Sisca visited several times, including the 11th and 21st of March, days before the robbery. One witness said on March 11th or 12th a man who gave his name to Florin visited a solicitor in the very same building as the jewellers.
- "They were present and involved in a high-value burglary, but didn't know what was going on? How can that be? You all live in the real world."
Truly a heist that will go down in the books. What a way to carry out such a crime...truly unbelievable. Jewelry being a massive target for thieves has concerned many jewelers across the nation and now more precaution is being taken.