A ram raid gang who stole nearly half a million pounds of goods from London’s West End stores have been jailed.
The raids included Selfridges, top designer brand Celine, whose clothes were first worn by Hollywood actress Dakota Johnson and Italian luxury skiwear store Moncler, who also own the Stone Island brand.
The gang took a variety of designer clothes and handbags from the stores.
Two of the raids took place just 10 days apart in July 2020 with the third in October that year.
Despite five gang members being sentenced, police revealed they are still looking for other members of the gang.
Martin Dunne, 37, Omar Bakali, 28, Jamie Claydon, 28, Gary Lynch, 32 and Anthony Alleyne, 54 all pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to a total of 16 -and-a-half years between them.
Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad, a specialist robbery investigation unit, began investigating after the gang smashed into Selfridges with a Jaguar S-type and Audi S4 to steal Valentino and Balenciaga handbags.
Detectives managed to trace the vehicles, which had fake number plates, to Highgate, north London.
“It wasn’t until after they committed the second burglary that officers were able to identify the members of the organised crime group by using evidence from hours of CCTV, and extensive telephone records and automated number plate recognition (ANPR),” Scotland Yard said.
The second was on July 24 2020, at Celine in Mount Street, Mayfair, where a Golf reversed through the doors and the gang looted several handbags.
The Golf was abandoned in the smash, and the gang fled in an Audi, however Alleyne left DNA in the Golf.
From this the Flying Squad began to identify other crooks.
Scotland Yard said: “Further telephone evidence and ANPR showed Dunne and Bakali to travel from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, to north London on the evening of 24 July in the Audi S4.
“CCTV evidence showed them meet with other members of the group at a residential area in Highgate to change clothing and prepare the Audi and Golf.
“This involved changing number plates on the vehicles.
“CCTV evidence showed the group to rendezvous in Highgate after the offence and transfer property stolen into a Ford Transit van.
“CCTV from the night of the offence and later surveillance observations linked this van to Lynch.
“Images and messages found on Bakali’s phone showed him attempting to sell the handbags on in the days after the offence.”
The third burglary took place just after midnight on October 9 2020, at Moncler in Old Bond Street.
CCTV evidence showed the group meeting in a residential area in Chalk Farm.
As with the earlier crimes, the group turned their mobile phones off at this meeting in order to evade detection.
The gang smashed their way through the door with a sledgehammer, and stole jackets, bags and other items of clothing.
Detectives managed to trace Claydon to Epping, Essex, and found a large amount of Moncler clothing in bin bags.
DNA linked Bakali to the motorbike left at the scene, and images found on Dunne’s phone showed him to have been in possession of stolen clothing from this burglary.”
Martin Dunne, 37 of Foxes Parade, Waltham Abbey, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Omar Bakali, 28 of Hopefield Avenue, Kilburn, was sentenced to four years and four months’ imprisonment.
Jamie Claydon, 28 of Ipswich Road, Newbourne, Suffolk, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
Gary Lynch, 32 of Tudor Close, Highgate, was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.
Anthony Alleyne, 54 of Peckham Road, Peckham, was sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment.”
Det Con Martyn Stone, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This was an immensely complex investigation involving a huge amount of evidence.
“The group caused havoc in the West End with buildings being severely damaged and high valued goods being stolen.
“These men have since discovered that crime does not pay and thanks to the complex investigative work by the Flying Squad, they will instead be spending time behind bars.”
Claydon was later arrested again in May 2021 and charged with conspiracy to burgle.
The other members of the group were arrested throughout March and May 2021 and also charged with conspiracy to burgle.
Investigations continue to track down and bring to justice outstanding suspects who are believed to be involved in these offences.