A woman stole a diamond worth 4.2 million pounds ($5.7 million) from a luxury jeweler in London, and exchanged the diamonds for pebbles in what was described as a “highly sophisticated theft”, according to the British newspaper, “The Guardian”.
Lulu Lakatos impersonated a gemologist and pretended to be examining and evaluating seven diamonds at the Boodles showroom on New Bond Street in Mayfair, central London.
The woman now on trial turned out to be a member of a gang that planned to steal the diamonds. “The defendant stole the diamonds by sleight of hand and participated in a conspiracy in which she was instrumental, through a complex and meticulously planned operation,” said Attorney General Philip Stott of Southwark Crown Court.
It is reported that Lakatos, 60, was born in Romania and lived in France, and denies the theft that occurred on March 10, 2016.
The story began in February 2016, when a man named Simon Glass claimed he was interested in buying high-value diamonds as an investment, while talking to Boodles Chairman Nicholas Wainwright, 73.
A month later Wainwright met Glass’s alleged business partner in Monaco, a Russian named Alexander, and it was agreed to sell 7 high-value diamonds after much discussion.
In the details, Lakatos went to the store and presented herself as a jewelry appraiser, using the pseudonym “Anna”, and she was sent at the request of the gang to visit Poodles to examine the diamonds on March 10 and stole them.
Wainwright took Lakatos downstairs to a conference room with the company’s gemologist, Emma Barton.
Downstairs, Lakatos examined and weighed the diamonds before individually wrapping them in pre-cut tissues and placing them inside a purse.
Lakatos then allegedly put the locked wallet inside her handbag when Wainwright went upstairs to receive a phone call from the alleged Russian buyer. Then Barton told her to put the wallet back on the table.
“It appears that what has happened is that it has been replaced (the original wallet) with an identical (fake) locked wallet and put back on the table,” Attorney General Philip Stott said.
It turned out later that the wallet that she put on the table was fake and that there were pebbles inside, while she took the original wallet that had diamonds inside and put it in her bag.
After Lakatos left the store, two other women, who were waiting inside a nearby store, walked past her where Lakatos was seen putting something like a wallet in one of their handbags.
Stott added that Lakatos changed her clothes in a public restroom before leaving London on the Eurostar using her own passport. She was accompanied by an accomplice on the train while two gang members and two women traveled together through the Channel Tunnel in a rented car.
Two of the gang members, Kristof Stankovic and Mikael Yovanovic, were convicted of conspiring to carry out the theft. Lakatos was arrested in France on a European arrest warrant in September last year before being extradited to the United Kingdom. The trial is still ongoing.