Thieves who used explosives to target cash machines are jailed

27 September 2019, 13:41

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A pair of bungling thieves who blew up cash machines four times before being able to steal any money have been jailed.

The pair were found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and causing an explosion with intent.

An investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate found 31-year-old Gica-Fanica Radu and 28-year-old Victor Coseru were responsible for attacks on five cash machines in total between 18 January and 7 February 2019.

The pair used a property in Ashford as their base and travelled on the M40 corridor and carry out the attacks during the nighttime.

They used explosive devices to break their way into the machines in order to try and steal.

The pair bungled their first attempt to rob a cashpoint at a Tesco store in London Road, High Wycombe on 18 January.

While they caused significant damage, they were unsuccessful and left empty-handed.

Victor Coseru (L) and Gica-Fanica Radu (R)
Victor Coseru (L) and Gica-Fanica Radu (R). Picture: Kent Police

The next night Radu and Coseru travelled to a Sainsbury’s Local store in Porters Way, West Drayton. At 3.45am they were seen on CCTV being dropped off by car and using tools they forced open the casing to the cash dispenser, inserting an explosive.

Again although the device was detonated and caused the ATM to explode, and lots of damage, they failed to reach the money box, and so left empty-handed for a second night.

Their next three attempts were also unsuccessful and only resulted in damage being caused to cashpoint machines.

The pair struck at a Co-op in Kennington, close to their base which was successful. They stole the cash worth more than £35,000.

Attempting to flee the country the burglars were arrested at the Port of Dover

Radu and Coseru were sentenced to 18 years and 15 years in prison respectively at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 27 September 2019.

A photos of the stolen cash, which were found on Gica-Fanica Radu’s phone.
A photos of the stolen cash, which were found on Gica-Fanica Radu’s phone. Picture: Kent police

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector James Derham said: "Our investigation showed that this pair had travelled into the country to steal from cash machines and it was their intention to escape as soon as they had some money from their criminal activities.

"There was a high level of planning and determination by these men, using explosive devices that have never been used for this crime type in the UK before.

"However despite this, it still took them five attempts before they managed to steal any cash and unfortunately for them, our officers arrested them just hours later as they attempted to flee the country.

"Our officers worked tirelessly to gather the evidence to identify the suspects, ensuring they were caught and brought before the courts."