Members of an organised ‘Romanian Crime Academy’ were sentenced for nearly 50 years in jail after stealing goods worth more than GBP 3 million in 11 ‘meticulously planned’ raids between November 2015 and September 2016, Daily Mail reported.
Targets included stores at Bicester Village, a designer outlet in Oxfordshire, and Beaverbrooks jewellers in Stratford-upon-Avon, from which they took £400,000 of watches.
Four members of the gang – all originally from Romania – were each jailed for eight years and two months for conspiring to commit burglaries.
They were Vasile Daniel Cardos, 26, of Halesowen Street, Rowley Regis, and Bogdan Costel Neagu, 24, Silvu Ioan Acatrinei, 20, and Andrei Florin Tifui, 28, all of no fixed address.
Cosmin Moraru, 25, of Naden Road, Hockley, was locked up for a total of eight years for conspiracy to commit burglaries and conspiracy to commit arson at stores spanning nine counties.
Ioan Bucuresteanu, 24, also of no fixed address, was sentenced to eight years for the same offence.
The sixth gangster, Ioachim Karp, 19, of no fixed address, was jailed for six years and six months for aggravated burglary and conspiracy. A seventh man is due to be sentenced on March 28.
Investigators revealed footage featuring the Romanian thieves dressed in black and their faces covered breaking through the glass windows of the jewelry shops, with the help of battering rams and sledge-hammers.
The burglars used to ride push-bikes to avoid being tracked down, and even tie industrial cable across the road to stop or damage police cars in pursuit. They would also set fire to cars and shops to distract police from the crime scenes.
The gang would also set up tents a few miles from their targets to search the surroundings and plan up their crimes and would bury their traces so that their DNA could not be found by police, even if their camps were.