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Lucerne Criminal Court: 6 Men on Trial For Heist

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 23 January 2024

Lucerne Criminal Court tries a case of historic significance: multimillion-franc jewellery heist.

Lucerne Criminal Court: 6 Men on Trial For Heist

The Lucerne Criminal Court is currently the center of attention as it hosts a high-profile trial involving six men implicated in a daring armed robbery. The heist, which targeted a jewelry store in Lucerne in 2019, stole luxury watches and jewelry worth over 20 million francs.

Prosecutors are pushing for stern sentences, ranging from seven to eleven years, for the accused, aged between 32 and 61. Among the four non-Swiss nationals, an additional expulsion order for 15 years is being sought. The charges portray the group as co-conspirators, meticulously planning and executing the robbery.

The heist, executed at the Gübelin store in Lucerne’s Schwanenplatz on October 26, 2019, was marked by precision and audacity—the prosecution’s narrative details how two men breached the store’s security early in the morning. While one subdued and watched over the three female employees present, the other, a purported ringleader armed with a pistol, plundered the safes.

This meticulously planned escape saw the robbers vanish with bags brimming with valuables. However, not all the loot was recovered; jewelry worth nearly 7 million francs remains missing. The aftermath saw swift police action, leading to the capture of one suspect in the Littau district, where part of the stolen goods was concealed.

In an intriguing twist, the ringleader, also accused of a prior 2017 heist at the same store, is facing an eleven-year sentence. His crime spree allegedly includes two additional attempted robberies against Gübelin. The prosecution asserts that insider information provided by a janitor employed at the store was crucial in facilitating these crimes, for which a ten-year sentence is sought.

Four other defendants face charges of seven to eight years for their alleged roles as organizers, facilitators, and accomplices in both the heist and subsequent attempted robberies. Interestingly, the individual who guarded the employees during the 20 million franc robbery isn’t part of this trial. As the only fully cooperative suspect, he’s set to face a separate, more lenient trial.

Adding another layer to this complex case is a contradictory claim by one of the accused. In a separate section of the trial, the alleged robber admits to the crime but denies using insider information. Contrary to the prosecution’s claims, he insists that a covertly installed camera, not an insider tip, enabled him to crack the staff entrance code. This revelation challenges the prosecution’s narrative and intrigues an already captivating trial.

The world watches closely as the Lucerne Criminal Court delves deeper into this intricate web of accusations and defenses. This trial highlights the sophistication of modern-day heists and underscores the complex legal battles that follow such high-profile crimes.

©Keystone/SDA

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