Jewellery salesman carrying a suitcase full with £4m of precious gems is ambushed by gang

Jewellery salesman carrying a suitcase full with £4million of precious gems to an Ernest Jones is ambushed by gang who then fled the scene in a Mercedes in a ‘professionally planned’ robbery plot

  • Joseph Savoie, who worked for US designer Le Vian, was ambushed in a car park
  • He was walking to Ernest Jones in Staines in Surrey to display valuable stones
  • He was beaten to the ground and battered almost unconscious in vicious attack
  • His attackers stalked him in Mercedes which was fitted with fake number plates
  • Lee Gardner, Camilo Carvajal, Ciro Troyano and Oscar Hicks were all convicted

A gang has been convicted of conspiring to rob an international jewellery salesman of a suitcase filled with £4million worth of precious gems.

Joseph Savoie, who worked for exclusive US designer Le Vian, was ambushed in a car park as he walked to Ernest Jones in Staines, Surrey, to display high-value stones including the company’s signature brown ‘chocolate diamonds’.

He was beaten to the ground and battered almost unconscious after taking the jewel-filled case from his car boot on the morning of May 13.

Oscar Hicks was one of the thugs involved in the attack

Joseph Savoie, who worked for exclusive US designer Le Vian, was ambushed in a car park as he walked to Ernest Jones in Staines, Surrey, to display high-value stones including the company’s signature brown ‘chocolate diamonds’. Pictured are two of the thugs. Left is Ciro Troyano and right is Oscar Hicks

He was beaten to the ground and battered almost unconscious after taking the jewel-filled case (pictured, some of the items stolen) from his car boot on the morning of May 13

He was beaten to the ground and battered almost unconscious after taking the jewel-filled case (pictured, some of the items stolen) from his car boot on the morning of May 13

His attackers had stalked him in a Mercedes fitted with fake number plates before pouncing, even ripping his watch and gold necklace from him along with the case, before smashing the car park barrier as they sped off.

Lee Gardner, Camilo Carvajal, Ciro Troyano and Oscar Hicks were all convicted of conspiracy to rob in the ‘professionally planned’ operation on Friday at Kingston Crown Court.

The trial heard how the gang had tracked Mr Savoie’s movements after the schedule announcing his arrival at the store was posted on the Ernest Jones website to attract customers.

CCTV shows the shocking incident in Staines, Surrey, in May last year. The Mercedes getaway vehicle can be seen speeding off

CCTV shows the shocking incident in Staines, Surrey, in May last year. The Mercedes getaway vehicle can be seen speeding off

Lee Gardner, Camilo Carvajal (pictured), Ciro Troyano and Oscar Hicks were all convicted of conspiracy to rob in the 'professionally planned' operation on Friday at Kingston Crown Court

Lee Gardner, one of the thugs involved in the vicious attack in May, is pictured

Lee Gardner (right), Camilo Carvajal (left), Ciro Troyano and Oscar Hicks were all convicted of conspiracy to rob in the ‘professionally planned’ operation on Friday at Kingston Crown Court

In the days beforehand, the group, all from London, had staked out Ernest Jones stores in Solihull, West Midlands, and Maidenhead, Berkshire, as Mr Savoie displayed his wares there.

But their conspiracy was undone after detectives traced their movements through mobile phone records, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and CCTV images, the court heard.

Police found some stolen items at the homes of the defendants along with thousands of pounds in cash, and messages showing they had been trying to sell the high-value pieces.

Le Vian 14ct White Gold 1ct Chocolate Diamond Ring

Le Vian 14ct White Gold White & Chocolate Diamond Ring

Some of the items which were stolen included a Le Vian 14ct White Gold 1ct Chocolate Diamond Ring (left) worth £3499 and an teardrop ring worth £2499

Detectives also recovered some of the jewellery from pawn shops, including two distinctive Le Vian rings, near the defendants’ addresses.

Gardner, 48, of Wood Green, north London, Carvajal, 40, of Lewisham, south east London, Troyano, 41, of Southwark, south London and Hicks, 38, of St Leonards-on-Sea were found guilty of conspiracy to rob by majority verdicts after jurors deliberated for more than 19 hours.

Some of the defendants shook their heads or held their heads in their hands as the guilty verdicts were delivered.

Judge Georgina Kent indicated that the four men will be sentenced on a day to be fixed next week.