A gang of thugs who terrorized London with a series of violent armed robberies, including holding ex-Arsenal star Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac at knifepoint, have been sentenced to serve more than 100 years in prison.
The eight-man gang frequently targeted wealthy areas of the English capital in a crime spree between April 2019 and July 2020, where they broke into homes or held up people in their cars where they would demand that victims hand over money, watches and other valuables.
The series of robberies caused international attention in late 2019 when one of the men who has since been sentenced, Jordan Northover, and another man attempted to rob defender Sead Kolasinac and his then Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil of their watches which are understood to have been valued in the region of £200,000 ($275,000).
Security footage of the incident released to the public showed the powerhouse Bosnian Kolasinac chase off the two thugs – despite Northover allegedly threatening to stab him in the chest. Video evidence showed that Kolasinac didn’t even flinch as Northover prodded in the direction of the player’s neck with a 12-inch long sharp pointed instrument.
Kolasinac has since joined German outfit Schalke on loan, while Ozil ended his Arsenal career to join Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Northover subsequently pleaded guilty to the attempted armed robbery and was jailed for a total of 18 years for this and other violent incidents.
In total, Northover and the others involved in the spree committed around 20 violent offences including one particularly grisly one they broke into the bedroom of an 80-year-old woman before threatening her and demanding to know where her safe – which she didn’t have – was, reports The Sun.
Other violent robberies involved crowbars, knives and even a gun.
The mob were finally brought to justice last summer after attempting to rob undercover police officers who had tracked them following another burglary in the London borough of Barnet.
The sentence handed down to the eight men from Harrow Crown Court added up to a cumulative total of more than 100 years behind bars for the gang.
“The way this gang targeted their victims and threatened them with weapons during their crime spree was truly shocking and abhorrent,” said Detective Sergeant Gary Taylor of the Flying Squad The impact these heinous crimes have had on the victims cannot be understated.
“These defendants wrongly thought they wouldn’t be caught. However, Flying Squad officers were able to close the net on these robbers and bring them into custody after a proactive surveillance operation.
“I would like to praise the victims for supporting this prosecution, and I hope these convictions will go some way to giving them some comfort. Across London, officers are working hard to keep the public safe by identifying people involved in serious violence and bringing them to justice.“