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Duo admit part in Selfridges burka smash and grab

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Two men have pleaded guilty to their part in the £1.5 million smash and grab at Selfridges, in which the thieves masqueraded as women in burkas. 

On Monday, Sam Curtin, 24, and Connor Groake, 19, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court to their part in the smash and grab on department store Selfridges, in London, which took place last month. The two men, from Islington in London, were part of a gang of six who mingled with shoppers and then smashed their way through cabinet displays using axes and sledge hammers, before attempting to escape on vehicles including a moped, motorbikes and a car. The gang stole 140 watches from the department store, 41 of which were recovered at the scene by police. Watches stolen in the raid included models from Hublot, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Dreyfuss, Zenith, U-Boat, Raymond Weil, Blancpain, Frederique Constant, Burberry, Bremont, Baume & Mercier and Audemars Piguet.

The stolen watches were worth an estimated value of £1.5 million and property worth £1 million remains outstanding.
Curtin and Groake pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and aggravated vehicle taking.

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They will be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on July 22.

The two men crashed their getaway moped as they fled from the scene of the robbery. They were detained by members of the public until police arrived.

Groake was arrested at the scene of the crash and was charged on June 8. Curtin was taken to hospital with a fracture but charged on June 12.

Detectives from the Flying Squad are continuing their investigation to catch the remaining members of the gang.

Acting detective chief inspector Bob Currie, from the Flying Squad, said: "I’d like to take this opportunity to once again repeat the thanks of the Metropolitan Police Service to those people who stepped in and detained Groake and Curtin. Their quick thinking and brave actions helped our investigation, and ultimately [this] result.

"This was a brazen attack that was clearly well planned and well thought through. Fortunately robberies like this are rare. Our investigation to track down the remaining gang members is ongoing, and we have a full time team in place working on a number of different leads.

"We still want to hear from anyone who saw the robbery, who may have seen the vehicles involved in the time running up to or after the robbery or who think they may know who has been involved.

"We will make every effort to find the rest of this gang and recover what they stole."

Detectives want to hear from anyone who was in or around Selfridges on the evening of Thursday June 6 who witnessed the robbery or may have seen the men running up to the robbery or as they made their escape.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Crimestoppers, which can be done anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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