Blood trail snares Cartier watch thief who flew into UK for Mappin & Webb raid

Mappin and Webb

A member of an international gang that plundered £130,000 worth of Cartier watches from Mappin & Webb’s flagship UK store has been caught after a DNA match on a German criminal database.

Lithuanian Rimantas Borisovas, 32, was part of a group who flew into Britain in 2014 to carry out the raid armed with a handgun and claw hammer. They smashed a display case in the jewellery retailer’s Regent Store and fled with the luxury watches.

However, Borisovas cut his hand on glass from the cabinet, allowing police to recover a DNA sample at the scene. It eventually turned up a hit on the German police’s DNA database.

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Kingston Crown Court, where he was this week jailed for 12 years, heard that he had previously served time in a German prison after being convicted for being part of a burglary gang that carried out 13 offences of stealing high value BMWs. He also had a previous conviction from Lithuania for document fraud in 2016.

Borisovas and two accomplices carried out their raid on 10 June 2014 after approaching the Mappin & Webb store at around 17:40 from the direction of Oxford Circus.

The first man was well dressed in a black suit and black trilby, disguised with a curly blonde wig and make-up to conceal his identity.

He was invited into the store by the security guard monitoring the door. Once inside the premises, he produced a handgun which he pointed at the security guard.

He was followed inside by two hooded males wearing caps, face coverings and blue jeans – one of whom was Borisovas.

Borisovas and his accomplice failed to get into the Rolex and Patek Phillipe cabinets at the shop due to the strengthened glass – so Borisovas launched a frenzied hammer attack on the Cartier display cabinet and managed to steal 20 prestige wrist watches worth £128,740.

The three robbers then fled the store, having been inside for less than a minute in total.

When the blood left at the scene found no matches on the UK database, detectives decided to ask Europol and Interpol to conduct searches – which turned up the successful match towards the end of last year.

Having identified Borisovas, detectives found he had flown into Stansted from Lithuania two days before the robbery, and flew out one day after the robbery to Poland from Luton.

The Metropolitan Police Services (MPS) circulated the information to all forces in the UK, and on 17 November 2016, a border alert system flagged up to Essex Police that Borisovas was due in on a flight from Gdansk, Poland to Stansted Airport.

He was arrested at the airport by Essex Police and transferred to MPS custody. While at a south-west London police station, mouth swabs were taken and sent for fast track examination. They were found to match the DNA left on the cabinet at the crime scene.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour