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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Fitzwilliam Theft, Third Traveller/Gypsy Charged, But Where Is The Jade

Third person charged over Fitzwilliam raid

Police have charged a third person in connection with the theft of Chinese art from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

25-year-old Steven Coughlan of Eleanor Street Traveller/Gypsy Site in London will appear at Cambridge Magistrates' Court on Monday 21st May charged with theft and conspiracy to burgle.

18 items were taken from the museum, valued at more than ten million pounds. Police have already charged two people in connection with the theft.

Eastern European Antiques dealer who sold stolen gold sent to jail.

AN illegal immigrant who received jewellery stolen from homes all over the country has been jailed for seven years.

Yaroslav Kostenko, aged 30, took the gold jewellery – much of which was custom made for Asian family weddings – to London to be melted down.

Kostenko, from Ukraine, collected the gold from travellers who had carried out the burglaries and in less than 18 months as the price of gold soared, was paid £1.6 million. He used his share of the cash to set up an antiques business with his partner in Chipping Norton, St Albans Crown Court was told last Wednesday

When Kostenko was stopped on the M40 on May 18 last year the police found a large bag full of gold wedding jewellery taken from homes in Essex, Northampton and Slough.

He told officers that he had collected the jewellery from travellers and he was taking it to Hatton Garden, London.

Hertfordshire Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit searched Kostenko’s antique shop, Victor Creations, West Street, Chipping Norton, and other properties. They found about 5,000 items including jewellery, watches and paintings.

Simon Wilshire, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Records from the 18 months prior to Kostenko’s arrest showed he had received £1.629 million of gold.

“He was a significant handler of golden jewellery and other property which came to him from the travelling community,” said the prosecutor.

Kostenko, who has a partner and child, of West Street, Chipping Norton, pleaded guilty to money laundering and possessing criminal property.

He came to the UK on a sixmonth student visa in 2002 and had no work record in the country. His assets will be the subject of confiscation proceedings.

Defence barrister Mohammed Bashir said he was an “educated man who had set up a bona fide antiques business”. He said he had received “little commission”

and had deeply regretted what he had done.

Cat burglar in $34m jewel heist

A CAT Burglar has snatched $34 million in jewellery during a break-in at a diplomat's home in Paris.

Philippe Jones Lhuillier, the ambassador of the Philippines to Portugal and a passionate gem collector, was away when thieves struck at his apartment in the 16th district of Paris, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

The thieves, who broke in through a window, used an angle grinder to prise open a safe containing a case of gems and jewels, the report said.

Vases, watches and other valuables were also taken from the richly decorated 540-square-metre apartment, the report said.

Police are investigating the theft, which was reported by one of the ambassador's staff on Thursday.

Mr Lhuillier is the son of a former French honorary consul to the Philippines.

Significant amount of jewellery taken during break-in at Limerick home

GARDAI are also advising jewellers and cash for gold outlets to be alert a significant amount of jewellery was stolen during a break in at a house in Corbally.

The burglary happened sometime between noon and 2pm on Thursday, May 10 at a house at Janemount Park, Corbally.

According to gardai, the culprits gained entry to the house by forcing open the garage door and then forcing the kitchen door.

Once inside, they stole a number of items of jewellery including a gold bracelet with antique coins on it, a gold bracelet with diamonds, five gold rings, four of which had diamonds on them and one had a ruby stone. A gold watch was also stolen.

“We believe that the culprits made good their escape through an upstairs bedroom window which led out onto a flat roof. They then when out over the rear garden wall,” said Sgt Brian Broderick.

Four get suspended jail terms for 'stolen goods' charges

FOUR men have been given suspended prison sentences after admitting various offences involving 'stolen goods'.

Alex Shepherd, Matthew Mazzoni, Robert Hobbs and Ian Shepherd were all brought before Plymouth Crown Court after they were arrested when police targeted a shop between March and May last year.

The undercover officers were seeking to sell 'stolen' jewellery, games and tobacco at the Devonport Plymouth Easy Cash shop, the court was told.

The investigation led to a raid on several properties, including the Marlborough Street shop.

It was the Crown Prosecutions case that the Easy Cash shop and Mazzoni's nearby flat had been used for selling items.

Robert Hobbs, of Granby Green, was proprietor of the shop at the time of the arrests on June 22.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to a count of attempting to handle stolen goods.

He was sentenced by Judge Francis Gilbert QC to 11 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.

Alex Shepherd, of St Aubyn Road, and Matthew Mazzoni, of Albert Road, had both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to handle stolen goods.

The judge gave both men eight month prison sentences suspended for two years and 150 hours of community service each.

Ian Shepherd, who had pleaded guilty to attempting to handle stolen goods, was given nine months in prison suspended for two years and 100 hours of community service.

Woman wanted after £10k jewellery burglary

Police are appealing for information on the woman in these CCTV images in relation to a burglary in which more than £10,000 worth of jewellery was stolen in Lincoln.

This incident took place between 10am and 5.30pm in Broadway, Lincoln, on April 1.

The offender broke into a house through a bathroom window at the back and stole a quantity of jewellery.

Georgians who burgled Dubai, Sharjah flats held

Two Georgian burglars who targeted flats in Dubai and Sharjah when the tenants or owners were out at work have been arrested.

The police also recovered Dh500,000 and jewellery stolen from Sharjah flats and Dh350,000 and jewellery taken from Dubai houses from the pair.

Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation of the Dubai Police, said they received complaints from tenants or owners of seven apartments in different areas, including Muraqqabat and Bur Dubai, from May 5.

The police analysis revealed that the culprits were using a special method to break the locks.

Also, information was received from the Sharjah Police about four similar burglaries in that emirate of late. Colonel Salem Rumaithi, Deputy Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation, said a police patrol party stopped a car in the Rifa’a area.

The car was rented and the two people inside were Georgians. The suspects came to the UAE on visit visas this month.

One was living in Sharjah and the other in Dubai.

The police found their behaviour suspicious and searched the car. Inside, they found some of the stolen goods.

During interrogation, they confessed that they came to the UAE with the aim of committing thefts and that they chose the apartments carefully.

Lt-Colonel Ahmad Humaid Al Marri, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, said the duo was moving between Dubai and Sharjah.

They targeted flats in buildings that had no surveillance cameras or security guards.

Maid admits to stealing Dhs1m, gold jewellery

Dubai: A maid stole Dhs1 million and gold jewellery for a fugitive compatriot who had promised to buy her a house, a court heard.

KW, 30, an Ethiopian, on Thursday, admitted before Judge Jassem Ibrahim Al Beloushi at the Dubai Criminal Court, that she stole from her female employer ZC, in Al Quoz last year.

“Yes, but almost all of it was again taken away by a compatriot who lured me with a proposal to buy a house in Ethiopia,” she said.

KW reportedly went into ZC’s bedroom while the latter was in the living room, busy exercising on her jogging machine.

She snatched the keys from her handbag, collected the money and locked the safe before disappearing with the keys and handbag as well.

KW reportedly told prosecutors that at around 2pm, while cleaning ZC’s apartment, MM, the fugitive, contacted her and advised her to steal any available cash and jewellery.

She hid the stolen items in ZC’s handbag and took a taxi to meet MM. She got into contact with MM, who then drove her to a location in the Al Rashidiyah area.

“MM gave me around Dhs200,000 from the bundle that I had stolen, after which I went to a female acquaintance’s apartment.”

“The next day, however, MM came back for the Dhs200,000, claiming he would use it to buy the house. He gave me about Dhs3,000 for personal expenditure,” KW said.

A Emirati police lieutenant said, “After ZC could not find her handbag containing the safe’s key, she suspected KW, because she was the last person to leave the apartment.”

A staff sergeant added that upon arrest, KW admitted to the crime saying that she stole “a huge sum of money along with gold jewellery.” Hearing in the case continues on June 18.

Gang of East European jewel thieves sent to jail

MEMBERS of a smash-and-grab gang which stole almost £200,000 worth of jewellery in a string of raids have been jailed.

Romanians Adrian Ciobanu and George Stinga, together with Lithuanian Sigita Gasiliauskaite, began their campaign against the H.Samuel chain with a nighttime axe attack on the Redhill branch on December 9 last year.

The gang stole £50,000 of stock from the store in the Belfry shopping centre, before going on to take another £133,000-worth from shops in Staines and Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire. They also attempted to burgle a store in Corby, Northamptonshire, in the six weeks that followed.

Judge Christopher Critchlow sentenced Stinga, 27, of Salisbury Road, Dagenham, Essex, to four-and-a-half years, at Guildford Crown Court on Friday.

Ciobanu, 28, and Gasiliauskaite, 25, both of High Road, Wood Green, London, were sentenced to five and four years respectively.

Judge Critchlow said: "The trio were all described by their barristers as hard-up. They were part of a wider gang, the other members of which have not been traced."

The three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, but admitted differing levels of involvement in the raids. The burglars were disguised, the court heard, and could not be identified from CCTV footage of the crimes.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Davies said the Redhill raid took place at 3am.

"Two offenders were seen entering the premises by removing the glass panel on the bottom of the door," he told the court.

"An axe was used to break through and remove the window in order that the two offenders could climb in. Property was stolen to the value of £50,000. CCTV footage, very important, identified what happened: one person on a bike going past having a look, disappearing, coming back."

The other burglaries followed a similar pattern, the court heard.

The gang carried out reconnaissance missions in the days leading up to the crimes, and struck in the middle of the night, using a sledgehammer to break in.

The court heard that police investigating the raids found a scrap of paper with the postcodes of six more H.Samuel stores written on it, which had Gasiliauskaite's fingerprints on it.

Barristers for Ciobanu and Stinga told the court they received a payment of just £300 for carrying out the crimes on behalf of the ringleaders.

A total of £62,000 worth of jewellery was recovered from a car linked to Ciobanu, but the remainder, including the Redhill haul, has not been found.

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