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Two men jailed for Barking robbery

News   •   Oct 04, 2019 14:15 BST

[Jailed: Dimofti and Mandi]

Two men have been sentenced following a violent robbery at a jewellers in Barking in 2016.

Cristi-Adi Mandi, 27 (04.05.92) of no fixed address, was previously found guilty on Wednesday, 25 September of conspiracy to rob following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

On Friday, 4 October, at the same court, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.

Alin-Viorel Dimofti, 27 (20.08.92) of St Albans Road, Watford, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and was sentenced to eight years in prison. 

The court heard that at around 18:00hrs on 27 December 2016, Dimofti and two others entered a jewellers on London Road in Barking.

Once inside, they attacked the shop owner, using a stun gun to incapacitate him before tying him up using silver duct tape. They then proceeded to strangle him to the point that the victim ‘played dead’ in order to make them let go.

The shop was then emptied of jewellery valued at around £400,000 before the suspects fled the scene in a blue Citroen Picasso.

The owner managed to free himself around ten minutes after the suspects left and called 999. Police found him covered in blood and badly shaken, with duct tape still on his clothing.

Detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad launched an investigation, including analysing CCTV footage.

Enquiries revealed that ten days prior to the incident, on 17 December 2016, the defendants had attended the venue and be-friended the victim. 

On the night of the robbery, Dimofti waited outside of the store until the shutters were down and the owner was left alone inside.

Mandi – who was away from the venue – then telephoned him to say his friends were outside with jewellery to sell and asked if they could be allowed in despite the store being closed.

The victim then raised the shutter and was distracted by Dimofti offering him cheap jewellery before carrying out the attack.

The investigation later identified a car containing Dimofti and Mandi entering the UK via the Eurotunnel on 9 December 2016 and leaving from Folkstone on the evening of the robbery.

In February 2019, European Arrest Warrants were issued for both defendants.

On Thursday, 14 March, Dimofti was arrested in France and extradited to the UK; he was charged with conspiracy to rob on Friday, 29 March. 

The car used by the suspects on the evening of the robbery was recovered in March 2017, at which point officers found one gold ring in the rear passenger footwell. This was the only item of jewellery ever recovered. 

Mandi was arrested in Italy on Wednesday, 13 March and extradited to the UK. He was charged with the same offence on Friday, 10 May.

Detective Constable Andy Davenport, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This was a pre-meditated and carefully planned attack in which the defendants were intent on using extensive force in order to rob the shop.

“As well as suffering physical injury and considerable financial loss, the victim was left traumatised by this incident.

“He has had to relive the events of that night by giving evidence at Mandi’s trial and we hope these custodial sentences bring him some kind of closure.

“We are pleased the defendants are now behind bars and we hope this result shows our commitment to getting dangerous individuals off the streets of London."