Two men arrested this week in connection with Britain’s largest-ever jewelry heist have been charged with armed robbery and will appear in court Friday, police said.
Solomun Beyene, 24, and Craig Calderwood, 26, were arrested Wednesday. Police said they conspired with others to rob Graff jewelry store in London’s Mayfair neighborhood August 6. Beyene, of London, and Calderwood, who has no fixed address, were each charged with committing robbery and possessing a firearm, namely a handgun, London’s Metropolitan Police said. They were expected to appear at Wimbledon Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning. It is not clear if the two men are the same ones seen in surveillance camera footage carrying out the robbery. Police said that determination would be made by a jury. Two other men have been arrested in the case but have not been named or charged. A man arrested Thursday remains in custody, police said, and a 50-year-old man arrested last week is free on bail. Some $65 million in merchandise was stolen in the heist, in which men dressed in suits and ties walked into Graff jewelry store on New Bond Street late in the afternoon and threatened employees with handguns, police said. The thieves took 43 items including rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches in what police said was the largest jewelry robbery ever carried out in Britain. The robbers left in a blue BMW, which they abandoned nearby. They switched to a silver Mercedes, then to a black vehicle, possibly a Ford or Volkswagen, police said. Police described one of the robbers as white, about 30 years old and 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall. The second is a black man believed to be in his 30s with short hair. Both men are thought to have spoken with London accents, police said. The robbery was the latest in a spate of daytime thefts at jewelry stores and designer shops in the exclusive Bond Street shopping area in Mayfair, which includes New Bond Street. Groups of men or teenagers typically stage “smash and grab” robberies, in which they break the windows and steal anything they can get their hands on before speeding away in waiting cars or motorbikes. The thieves strike during the day, when stores’ security systems are typically disarmed, even though the store and sidewalk may be crowded with people.