A robber who smashed a stolen Range Rover into a jewellery store and ransacked it was grabbed by passers-by as he tried to flee.
Ben Wegener and two accomplices drove the car, stolen from Wandsworth, into the shop in Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, on October 25 last year.
The car narrowly missed onlookers and staff, who were then threatened with violence as the raid was carried out.
Wegener was chased and caught by members of the public as he ran away.
The 34-year-old, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 10-years’ imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to robbery, dangerous driving and possession of an offensive weapon, criminal damage and receiving stolen goods at a previous hearing.
Wegener and two accomplices drove the black Range Rover through the front of the shop at around 5.20pm, smashing the windows and narrowly missing the people inside.
The robbers got out of the vehicle and then smashed the glass display cases using a sledgehammer and a hammer, and put items of jewellery into bags.
By this time, a large number of onlookers had gathered outside. Having ransacked the store, the suspects attempted to flee the scene.
Wegener was prevented from escaping by members of the public outside, and he was detained until police arrived a few minutes later.
Wegener pleaded guilty to the offences on November 26 last year.
The Range Rover used by the robbers was recovered by police, and found to have been stolen from an address in Wandsworth earlier that month It was also displaying false number plates.
Detective Constable Sam Weller, of the Central West Robbery Squad, who led the investigation, said: “This was a reckless robbery committed in front of shoppers on a busy high street.
“It was sheer luck that no one was seriously injured when the vehicle smashed through the shop front, and the shop owner and customers were threatened with serious violence when the robbers where inside.
The raid was thwarted by members of the public who chased down and held Wegener as he tried to escape. This was a terrifying incident for the victims and everyone who witnessed it unfold, and Wegener will now spend a significant period of time in jail.
“Unfortunately, his two accomplices left the scene and remain outstanding. We will continue to pursue leads in order to identify them, and we would urge anyone who has information about those people to contact police.”
Anyone with information concerning the identity of the outstanding suspects is asked to call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC quoting CAD 5782/25 Oct.
To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.
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