By Laura Kemp • 16 November 2021 • 13:47
Frank Lampard and wife Christine were targeted. Image - Instagram
Three gang members committed Britain’s biggest burglary spree targeting celebrities, stealing £26 million worth of loot.
The burglars have now been jailed following the crime spree that has been compared to the plot of a Hollywood movie.
The gang members targeted celebs homes in a series of raids, with over £26 million worth of cash, jewellery and gems stolen over 13 days at the end of 2019.
Victims included former Chelsea FC midfielder and manager Frank Lampard, 43, wife Christine, 42, the late Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, 37.
Italian nationals Jugoslav Jovanovic, 24, Alessandro Maltese, 45, and Alessandro Donati, 44, admitted to the crimes yesterday, November 15, which took place in west London in December 2019.
The three men were extradited from Italy to face the charges and were said to be “amazed” police managed to find them after the group “believed they were untouchable.”
The three men pled guilty to conspiracy to burgle, and a fourth gang member, Daniel Vukovic, 44, has fled to Belgrade in Serbia where he remains following an extradition bid that failed.
About £60,000 in watches and jewellery was stolen from the Lampards while they were away from their Chelsea home on December 1.
On December 10, the group then entered 60-year-old Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s Knightsbridge home, which his family had turned into a shrine after his death in 2018.
Over £1 million was stolen from the property as well as a TAG Heuer watch he was wearing before his death.
Daughter of ex-Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had her family mansion in Palace Green, Kensington, raided on December 13, with £25 million worth of jewellery, cash, diamonds and precious stones stolen.
The gang are thought to have carried out similar raids in Europe and were planning to target more celebs in the UK.
The Met’s Detective Constable Andrew Payne said many of the items are now “buried treasure somewhere, globally.”
He added: “They believed they were untouchable. The locations identified to have been burgled were, on paper, almost impossible to achieve without being caught. The targets were impenetrable. However, this did not deter them in their selfish greed.”
“The plots are comparable to what you would see in a Hollywood movie but unfortunately this was real life, involving real victims who have suffered greatly by their actions.”
The gang, thinking they had gotten away with their crimes, then set about enjoying their stolen wealth, celebrating with a £760 sushi meal in Knightsbridge restaurant Zuma and spending thousands in Harrods – where they were seen on CCTV.
They then left for Milan, with Jovanovic bleaching his hair as a disguise before flying out of London City Airport.
UK police caught the gang members, who made their names in the criminal underworld by trying to “make themselves ghosts and shadows.”
Jovanovic also admitted conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of attempting to convert criminal property.
He was jailed for 11 years by Judge Martin Edmunds QC at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday. Maltese and Donati were both sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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