Hatton Garden heist: Did gang break into German bank vault two years ago?
Unsolved heist in Berlin in January 2013 in which 300 safety deposit boxes were cleared of £8million of jewellery bears striking similarities with the Easter weekend London raid
The unsolved burglary of bank vaults in Berlin in January 2013 has striking similarities with the Easter raid in London's jewellery quarter, the Times as reported.
The gang responsible for breaking into Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd was described by Scotland Yard detectives as “highly audacious”.
They wore construction workers' clothes as cover and struck after the business closed for the Easter break.
After hiding in offices until security left a lift was disabled before they abseiled down the lift shaft into the vault and cut through a metal door.
They then drilled bore holes into the reinforced two-metre thick concrete wall and disabled a lift to get into the vault containing 70 safety deposit boxes.
In the 2013 German raid a 45m-long tunnel was dug by those responsible and almost a metre of concrete reinforced wall was drilled through to reach 300 boxes containing jewellery worth more than £8million.
In both crimes, the crooks started work after businesses closed for the weekend, also wearing construction worker disguises, and alarms to security and police that were triggered were ignored for a number of days.
German police got DNA samples of some of the men involved and released video footage and artist’s impressions of the thieves, but never arrested anyone.
They reportedly suspected a group of eastern Europeans as being behind the heist as wooden boards used to construct a tunnel to the Volksbank came from Poland, while bottles of Polish beer were left behind.In Germany, private security guards were to blame for ignoring an alarm going off in the Volksbank’s vaults two days before the crime was discovered.
Hampstead antiques dealer hit by dramatic £200k vintage watch heist
The store’s owner Simon Drachman, 53, said the heist had all the hallmarks of a “burglary to order” and drew parallels with the Hatton Gardens Safety Deposit robbery earlier this month when burglars made off with £200million worth of jewels by drilling into a basement vault containing safe deposit boxes.
“They came in through the air conditioning system,” said Mr Drachman. “One of them undid the outer casing of the old air conditioning system and forced his way through the disused ventilation shaft to get into the building.
“I think it’s a copycat of the Hatton Gardens heist.”
The thief targeted a specific selection of historic pocket watches, leaving behind around 600 watches, including Rolex, Breitling and Omega wrist watches.
“You might call this burglary to order,” said Mr Drachman. “It was a tailored, audited burglary. It has to be when you have very valuable watches like Rolexes and Breitlings left behind.
“He was obviously told what to take. You don’t do that unless you have instructions.”
“It’s not possible to insure that kind of stuff which is why we are offering a substantial reward for any information,” said Mr Drachman.
Ipswich burglar jailed again after travelling nearly 200 miles to commit break-ins
Photo of Peter Sonny Martin O'Halloran in 2007 when he was wanted for burglaries across the country
An Ipswich burglar who was once the target of a nationwide manhunt during a two-year crime spree totalling nearly 50 break-ins has been jailed again.
The 40-year-old had admitted committing two burglaries in the Macclesfield area in November.
After O’Halloran’s latest sentencing Pc Dale Hawtin, of Macclesfield CID, said: “O’Halloran travelled a couple of hundred miles with the sole intention of committing burglaries in wealthy rural areas.
“Our colleagues in the south east say he is one of their most prolific burglary offenders, so it is pleasing to see he will no longer be a threat to society for several years.”
In 2009 O’Halloran was given an eight-year jail term for dozens of burglaries across southern England, including at least one in Suffolk.
He was believed to have netted property worth up to £750,000 as a result.
The 34-year-old also gave £18,000 from his haul to his Ipswich girlfriend, leaving her a bagful of money and a note professing his love.
O’Halloran pleaded guilty to nine counts of burglary, including one in Dullingham, near Newmarket, and another offence of transferring criminal property.
He also admitted to a further 38 burglaries, including in Hampshire and Surrey, which were taken into consideration when sentencing him. O’Halloran also struck in the Cotswolds, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire.
Among the offences he was questioned about was a burglary in Walsham le-Willows, near Stowmarket, where cash, silverware and other property were stolen on January 3, 2008.
He was also wanted for a break in at the home of a former Jockey Club steward at Kirtling, near Newmarket in which hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of rare antiques and racing memorabilia were taken in November 2006.
By the time of his 2009 arrest, O’Halloran had been wanted for almost two years, both on recall to prison for breach of licence conditions and for questioning in relation to a series of burglaries.
In November 2009 O’Halloran and his accomplice – Philip Goncalves, of Sutton, Surrey - had £47,050 in cash assets seized by the courts as proceeds of crime.
£22,000 of watches and jewellery stolen from Shropshire antiques fair
The seller, who did not wish to be named, but described himself as an "antique horologist" said he was "gutted" by the theft.
He said: "I attended the three-day show as a seller and on the Friday night I left everything locked up as usual.
"On my return on the Saturday morning four cabinets had been raided and approximately 80 watches and a cabinet of different jewellery had been taken.
"To be honest I am absolutely gutted and I would appeal for anybody who has been offered anything like this to come forward and call the police."
Is this the world's most valuable bag snatch? Woman claims stolen handbag contained £4m worth of jewellery
The German woman, who has not been named, said she was targeted while travelling in a taxi in Paris yesterday afternoon
The German woman, who has not been named, was in a taxi which was stuck in traffic shortly after arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport on Wednesday afternoon.
Three thieves are said to have ‘appeared from nowhere’ and smashed a rear window of the car, making off with the bag.
It included numerous valuable items including a single ring worth close to £1m pounds, as well as around 12 other valuable pieces.
Today the victim told police that all of the items, which also included watches, bracelets, and rings were worth well over £4m pounds.
The ‘extremely rich’ German, who is part Taiwanese, was on her way to loan some of the jewels to the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, according sources close to the case.
But, in a mysterious twist, the museum later denied knowing anything about the intended delivery.
Detectives were today trying to work out whether the thieves had inside knowledge, or had simply ‘got lucky’, said an investigating source.
Rather than escaping on a motorbike – which is usual – the thieves in this case ran away on foot, scrambling up a sharp motorway embankment.
The items are all listed and numbered because of their high value – something which will make them very hard to sell on.
The heist took place in the Landy Tunnel, which is just under a mile long and notorious for smash-and-grabs.
Youths living in local housing estates often follow passengers on mopeds, and then attack the cars they are travelling in.
In February 2010, Christina Chernovetska, the daughter of the then mayor of Kiev, lost some £4m pounds worth of jewels in similar circumstances.
And Saudi Arabian Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd had £200,000 pounds taken, along with diplomatic papers, in a raid on a convoy he was travelling in close to the airport last August.
Gardai renew appeal for help in tracing three stolen paintings
Jewellery thief given 48 hours to leave State or face jail
Jan Grabowski (56) pleads guilty to stealing €20,000 worth of goods from antiques shop
Jan Grabowski (56) has been given 48 hours to leave the country or face jail after pleading guilty to the theft of €20,000 worth of jewellery from Courtville Antiques in the Powerscourt Centre, Dublin. Photograph: Collins Courts
Well-plannedThe judge said the incident had all the hallmarks of being well-thought out and well-planned. He said he had no doubt Grabowski, “entered [the] shop with sole intention of stealing items from the shop”.
RemorsefulMr Hannon said Grabowski thought the offence “would be the answer to his problems”, and that he is remorseful and plans to return to Poland.
Christie’s withdraws over £1.2m in ancient artefacts after Glasgow academic identifies them as stolen
The auction house Christie’s has removed over £1.2 million worth of ancient artefacts after an academic from a Scottish university identified them as being linked to criminal networks in Europe The Scotsman reports.
Dr Christos Tsirogiannis (pictured), a research assistant at the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research warned Christie’s was failing to carry out checks after he found images of the stolen artefacts in archives taken from Italian art dealers convicted of art trafficking offences.
The treasures were meant to be sold at auction in London tomorrow but have been removed after Dr Tsirogiannis informed Interpol as well as Italian authorities.
Christie’s said last night that the auction house will work with Scotland Yardto determine the provenance of the lots.
Dr Tsirogiannis found the lots recorded in the seized archives of Giancomo Medici and Gianfranco Becchina and said Christie’s was failing to undertake proper due diligence.
Mr Medici was sentenced in 2004 to ten years’ imprisonment after being found guilty of conspiracy to traffic antiquities.
Mr Becchina, an antiquities dealer from Sicily, was convicted in Rome in 2011 of trafficking in stolen artefacts.
The items date to 540BC and include an Attic black-figured amphora as well as an Estruscan terracotta antefix.
In total, their value is about £100,000.
This is the second time Dr Tsirogiannis has exposed plundered items in Christie’s portfolio. The total value of the eight withdrawn lots is over £1.2 million.
He said: “Christie’s continues to include in its sales antiquities depicted in confiscated archives of convicted art dealers. Sometimes they sell the lots but nearly every time they withdraw them.
“I don’t understand why they can’t do due diligence beforehand. Clearly, it’s not taking place. Christie’s say they don’t have access to these archives which is not true.
“Every auction house, dealer and museum should refer to Italian and Greek authorities, who would check for free before the sales.”
Dr Donna Yates, of Trafficking Culture, added: “Do they contact antiquities trafficking experts before their auctions? No, never.
“Do they make public whatever provenance documents they have for a particular piece? No, never. I can only conclude that they don’t take this particularly seriously.”
A spokesperson for Christie’s said: “We have withdrawn four lots from our upcoming antiquities sale as it was brought to our attention that there is a question mark over their provenance, namely, that they are similar to items recorded in the Medici and Becchina archives.
“We will now work with Scotland Yard’s art and antiques unit to discover whether or not there is a basis for concerns expressed over the provenance.”
They added: “Christie’s would never sell anything we know or have reason to believe has been stolen, and we devote considerable time and money to investigating the objects in our care.
“We consult academic, police, civil, national and international lists of stolen works and when we publish our catalogues, we welcome scrutiny to help us ensure our information is correct.
“However, there are a few databases containing relevant information which are not made available to auction houses. So we are prevented from incorporating a search of these databases into our due diligence, and are only made aware of any concerns after our catalogues are published.
“In this case, although we have no reason to doubt our information, we are happy to conduct further research.
“We call on those with access to the Becchina and Medici archive to make them freely available to auction houses so that we can check them as part of our pre-catalogue due diligence process.”
The spokesperson said the Carabinieri – Italy’s national military police – have not responded in the past but that Christie’s is currently in touch with both the Greek and Italian authorities.
The spokesperson said: “However, to be clear what we are asking is access and full transparency for us but also for the art market as a whole. We would like to see a copy of the Becchina and Medici databases (and indeed any other official database or record of objects believed to have been stolen or looted) be provided to the ALR and/or added to the Interpol database of stolen cultural works.
“This is a very transparent and effective way of ensuring that the world is on notice of objects which are alleged to have been looted or stolen. It is how all other governments and police organisations register stolen cultural property. We do not understand why this has not been done.”
Christie’s theft – man jailed but no recoveryNone of the stolen items has been recovered.
Richard Tobin, 45, binged on two bottles of vodka before snatching the items from Christie's King Street on December 7 last year.
Tobin took a £125,000 Fabergé jewelled gold clock made in St Petersburg in 1899 and one of the maker's famous flower still lives, a silver gilt and rock crystal study of jasmine blossom.
He also stole an aquamarine necklace and hardstone animal carvings made by the court jewellers of Imperial Russia. Christie's had held a sale of Russian art the previous month.
Tobin had broken into the offices of credit asset managers Muzinich & Co in Mayfair, two nights earlier, taking a rucksack and headphones.
The Glaswegian, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on April 8. He had admitted two counts of burglary at an earlier hearing, appearing at court via videolink from HMP Wandsworth.
Jack Talbot, for Tobin, said: "He accepts he took the items. It may be that I put before the court that he wasn't aware of the value, but that is an entirely different matter."
In the earlier hearing Judge Owen Davies QC warned Tobin he was facing a long prison sentence. He added: "What has happened to the property will be uppermost in the court's mind - as to whether it has been recovered."
Antiques valued at £10,000 stolen in Hove burglary
Detectives are seeking thieves who broke into a central Hove house and stole 23 valuable items, inlcluding vases, statues and china believed to be worth at least £10,000.
In the early hours of Saturday (28 March) the items were taken whilst the man was asleep at the address in Pembroke Crescent, Hove.
Detective Constable Jane Kemp of the Brighton Priority Crime Team said; "These are very individual and distinctive items and we are sure anyone who is offered them for sale will realise this.
"We are also making enquiries in the Lewes and Arundel areas where it is felt some of the items may turn up.
List of property;
1) Large heavy Lalique crystal glass statue of Madonna and Child with 'Lalique Crystal' silver label on front and on a heavy black glass base.
2) Large heavy Crystal Lalique 'Sylvie' vase in the form of two doves with stylised asymmetric glass wings and 'Lalique Crystal' silver label on front
3) Clarice Cliff 'Bizarre Ware' Stamford shaped teapot (classic1930s Art Deco shape with curved handle and shape to one side and square shape to the other side) and very bold pink and blue 'splashed' daisy flower decoration on body of the teapot ( rare Delecia pattern and Stamford shape)
4) Clarice Cliff tall 'Bizarre Ware' Bon Jour shape (again classic 1930s Art Deco curved shape) jug with posy of flowers design on the front.
5) Clarice Cliff barrel shaped 'Bizarre Ware' Autumn Crocus mainly orange coloured Jam pot with lid and typical orange crocus design.
6) Identical jam pot to the above. (no photo)
7) Very fine quality Japanese Satsuma Ware 'Moon Vase' (circular shaped like the moon, with handle incorporated into the design) with very fine Satsuma gold enamelling decoration of Japanese gardens and landscapes and with red 'Imperial' impressed Japanese glazed mark on the base.
8) Tall and heavy Art Deco 1930s solid bronze dancing female figure with one foot raised in the air and on a heavy black marble plinth. Signed 'Philip' and 'Reveil' and impressed 'Bronze Garanti Paris Deposee' foundry Mark on base.
9) Large and heavy Art Deco solid bronze bison/buffalo/wildebeest heavily/finely textured statue/figure on 4 legs and heavy black marble base signed 'Milo' and impressed 'Bronze garanti Paris Deposee' foundry Mark on base.
10) Moorcroft Vase, ovoid shape 'Oberon' vase 6.5 inches high with cream, green and black flower 'tube lined' design on body. Signed 'Moorcroft' on bottom.
11) Moorcroft vase, 'Foxglove' design of pink flowers. 10inches tall, balloon shape and signed Moorcroft on bottom.
12) Moorcroft Vase. As above (same Foxglove colour/design) but smaller 8, inches tall and 'trumpet' shaped.
13) Moorcroft 'Mediterranean Figs' double handled vase signed Moorcroft on the bottom.
14) Moorcroft small squarer shaped 'Colours Of Kiribati' vase, with distinctive turquoise abstract pattern design.
15) Moorcroft medium sized and 'balloon' or urn shaped 'Cherries' vase with bold cherries design on the body and signed 'Moorcroft' on the bottom.
16) Tall brass 19th Century Regency urn shaped vase with original glass insert and double square handles on the top, with impressed swirl design on sides.
17) Pair of Royal Doulton 8 inch tall 'Lambeth Ware' balloon shaped vases with 'tube lined' flower motifs in pink and blue and with Royal Doulton impressed Mark on the base.
18) A large Art Nouveau style clear glass vase with gold, red and green 'swirled' design inlaid and 'stained' into the top part of the glass and 'dripping' down into the lower half.
19) Tall Art Nouveau style/shaped Glass claret jug with silver plate - patterned top/lid
20) Clarice Cliff large pink jug with flower decoration with handle and 'Clarice Cliff Newport Pottery' Mark to base.
21) Clarice Cliff salt and pepper pots - blue Chi design
22) R. Lalique 'coquilles' Plate cica 1924
23) Amethyst crystal glass chalice/tazza with gilt and enamel decorated designed by Kanenicky senov glass school and made by Hermann Eiselt (1925).
Durham detectives investigating after haul of antiques stolen from elderly woman's home
Police said the items are of 'huge sentimental value' and want to speak to a man and woman in their mid-20s to 30s seen in the Gilesgate area
Police said a man and woman in their mid-20s to late-30s entered the house of an elderly woman in Gilesgate on March 20.
The items stolen include a bronze Nepalese lion, a Priscilla Han cold cast bronze horse, a blue glass and sterling silver sugar pot and a red glass, double-ended scent bottle.
Two matching Doulton blue and green vases, one of which is pictured, were removed from the mantelpiece.
They are described as having long slender necks and bear applique medallions on which are Roman emperors’ heads.
All of the items pictured as a collection were stolen, with the exception of the candlesticks.
Police said the items have great sentimental value to the woman.
A band of thieves plundered the villa of a businesswoman
Among the many works he had stolen reliefs Dalí
The house has a security system that did not work
The Judicial Police has taken over the investigation and suspects behind the theft is a specialized plunder artworks, which then have a tough out in the market because they are unique pieces that automatically and are listed as stolen bases group data. The thieves had planned the coup before and knew how to disable the sophisticated alarm system that was inside, according to the findings.
The owner of the house and his family were absent several days and returned to their home last Holy Thursday. Arriving outside the home they were surprised to see that the garage door was open and damaged.
When entered everything was choppy, empty walls, some empty shelves and central alarm torn and thrown in a bucket in the kitchen.
At first, the victims came to suspect that the thieves might still be in one of the upper rooms and decided to quickly alert the police.
The agents of the police station immediately Fuencarral presented and verified that no thief was already in the house. All rooms were disordered and the living room walls and other main rooms were not the pictures that decorate. In addition, criminals tried unsuccessfully to open a safe in one of the rooms of the house.
Inside the villa there were several runs and sculptures on the floor works, making researchers suspect that the robbers fled precipitately to hear something strange or think that tenants were about to enter the house.
ResearchThe agents of the Judicial Police of Madrid began the investigation last week. But given the scale of the theft and the characteristics of the works will probably add to inquiries policemen Heritage Brigade, attached to the Central Police Services.
The investigation clearly indicate that the band acted knew exactly where he committed theft and what he wanted. In fact, the thieves despised very expensive electronic and audiovisual material in the house and only the most precious works were carried.
It is believed that the thieves entered the villa first jumping the perimeter fence and then climbed to the first floor to enter the house through a window, which was broken glass and blind.
The bootyThe most valuable pieces were those that took first place thieves, according to initial inquiries. They stopped for a second possible trip less expensive. But something went wrong. Hence in the driveway rolls are ground and found him several works, sculptures, tables and figures (some valued at 60,000 euros).
It is also believed that the thieves did not find the remote to open the door and put a car or van in the garden. Thus they opened the door abruptly and forcing one of the stops.
Police have questioned several neighbors and owners of adjoining houses in search of clues that could shed light on the case. It is also believed that due to the size of some work could hire a van to take the pieces.
The alarm did not workAgents are also investigating how authors theft could disconnect the alarm and the fact that the security center does not receive any notice at the time the signal was cut from the house.
The first appraisal of what was stolen two million euros. But that estimate could stay small because days after the owners have discovered that more works and missing pieces in the house.
The family has been the victim of looting are frightened, for he had never been robbed, even in its art shops.