Gang convicted of £4.1m jewellery robbery
A gang of robbers who attacked a jewellery salesman and stole his briefcase containing £4 million worth of precious gems has been convicted today (31 January).
The four men targeted the employee of exclusive American jewellery company Le Vian, repeatedly punching and kicking him in the face at a car park in Staines town centre, Surrey, on 13 May last year.
After leaving the victim with a fractured wrist and eye socket, the criminals sped away in their Mercedes and smashed through an entrance barrier. The haul, worth £4.1 million, included very rare chocolate diamonds.
The robbers had spotted an advert on the Ernest Jones website announcing the arrival of the jewellery at the Staines store, prompting them to hatch a plan to snatch them as they were delivered.
Camilo Carvajal, 39, Ciro Troyano, 41, Lee Gardner, 48, and Oscar Hicks, 38, were all convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery after an eight-week trial at Kingston Crown Court. They will be sentenced at a later date.
Ryan Richter, from the CPS, said: “This was a professionally planned robbery, with each member of the group playing their part either before or during the attack.
“As soon as they heard the gems were arriving in Surrey, the gang resolved they would stop at nothing to intercept them.
“The four men carefully researched the movements of their victim, visiting other jewellery stores he was at and stole number plates to put on a Mercedes used to commit the crime.
"Not content with subjecting the salesman to a vicious attack and stealing his suitcase, the robbers also made off with his passport, wallet, medication and sunglasses. We hope the verdict today helps him to move on from everything he was put through.”
Building the case
Evidence in this case came from a variety of sources, including witnesses who saw the men changing cars in Staines after the attack. CCTV and ANPR cameras were able to track the movement of the vehicles used by the gang.
Mobile phone data was also used to track their locations and showed that some members of the gang were in the vicinity of another Ernest Jones store in the Midlands, where the victim was displaying jewellery, four days before the attack.
Following their arrest, items from the robbery were found in three of the men’s homes, while evidence showed the fourth had pawned stolen goods. Analysis of their mobile phones showed attempts had been made to sell the stolen jewellery, some of it still in display trays.
Mr Richter added: “When they were arrested, evidence was found linking each defendant to the robbery, with some attempting to sell or pawn the jewellery.
“In the face of this evidence, the jury rejected their claims that they had no involvement in the robbery.”
Notes to editors
- Camilo Carvajal [27/09/1979], Ciro Troyano [27/08/1978], Lee Gardner [28/03/1971] and Oscar Hicks [04/10/1981] were all convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery
- Ryan Richter is a Crown Advocate with CPS South East.