Gang targeted London and Birmingham stores lifting £300k of jewellery.
A Romanian man who dressed as a woman to rob jewellery stores in London and Birmingham has been jailed for 10 years.
Vasile Bogdan would don a wig, fur headband and coat to trick jewellery shop owners into believing he was a female shopper to gain access to stores. He would then act as a lookout while accompanying gang members smashed their way into jewellery display cabinets using sledgehammers.
Bogdan and the gang targeted jewellery shops in east London and Birmingham selling primarily high-value Asian gold. His clothing would be disposed of after the robberies and was found in local parks and near railway lines.
According to the BBC gold jewellery worth £300,000 was seized in the raids, which took place between October 1 2012 and February 15 2013.
Bodgan admitted to one count of conspiracy to rob at the Old Bailey this week, despite being linked to five jewellery robberies.
Judge Richard Marks described the robberies as carefully planned and sophisticated.
Shops were targeted in London’s east end and Birmingham, where a failed robbery on January 5 drove the gang back to London where they targeted a store on Bethnal Green Road. The gang are said to have ransacked the store fleeing with £100,000 of jewellery, but were caught by the owner who chased after them.
Detective Inspector Ralf Kirchel said Bogdan was caught when a jewellery shop owner chased after him but other members of the gang are still on the run.
Kirchel said: "This gang developed a method of operation that worked and they kept repeating it, stealing thousands and thousands of pounds of gold jewellery.
"They are clearly highly organised and put preparation and planning into each offence. We know that Bogdan came into the UK on January 23, from Hungary.
"Our investigation is ongoing and does have links to other countries; we will do everything we can to track down the rest of this gang."