A man who stole a world-renowned expert’s collection of coins, medals, spoons and watches has been sentenced in his absence.
Dominik Kuzio, 31, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, October 18 of breaking into Simon Bendall’s Westminster home.
He was given a sentence of four years’ imprisonment.
Kuzio has not been seen since 2020 and police are urging anyone with information about his whereabouts to get in contact.
Mr Bendall, who died in June 2019 aged 80, was a world-renowned expert on ancient coins and was a collector, scholar and dealer.
His specialty was Byzantine coins and he had gathered an extensive personal collection over his lifetime.
The court heard that on February 12, 2018, Kuzio forced his way into Mr Bendall’s apartment in Ashley Mansions, while Mr Bendall was out enjoying an afternoon with his friends at a local pub.
Mr Bendall returned home at around 5:30pm to find his home had been ransacked. His collection of ancient coins, medals, spoons and watches, worth over £100,000, had been stolen, along with a laptop.
Police were called and forensic examiners scoured the scene, locating DNA that was found to match Kuzio.
He was found, arrested and interviewed before being bailed.
But he failed to answer his bail date, or acknowledge when he was charged.
Kuzio was subsequently arrested in relation to another matter for which he appeared in court in 2020.
He was given court bail and and has not been seen since.
Detectives have tried to track him down but as yet he has not been located.
Detective Constable Samuel Turner, investigating officer, said: “Though I’m glad we have secured this conviction and sentencing, the outcome is bitter-sweet while Kuzio is outstanding.
“Mr Bendall never saw the man guilty for the theft of his life’s work convicted, nor did he ever see the return of his collection. The property has never been recovered.
“Any burglary is a heinous crime because it is so callous and invasive, but in this instance it is all the more upsetting for Mr Bendall’s family because the treasured items that were stolen were so personal to him. His interest in ancient coins was sparked as a teenager and it was a passion that he enjoyed throughout his life.
“My direct advice to Kuzio would be to do the honourable thing and give yourself up. It is only a matter of time before you are found, and this sentence is still going to be there when you are.”
Officers believe he may potentially have fled to Poland, but remain open-minded that he could still be in the UK.
Anyone who has information that could help police is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC ref CRIS 6507683/18.
Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Pictured top: Dominik Kuzio
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