A thief who helped steal a £150,000 Richard Mille watch from a client outdoors Harrods could be deported to Algeria after serving his sentence.
Karim Boukerb, 24, was a part of a bunch who focused sufferer Zain Butt outdoors the shop in Knightsbridge, London, on October 5 final yr.
He was heard urging two others to ‘grab the watch’, earlier than they made their escape, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The watch has by no means been recovered, prosecutor Obi Mgbokwere mentioned.
He advised the courtroom: ‘This was a deliberate incident the place the defendant and his accomplices have been seen to watch members of the general public over a time period.
‘They paid shut consideration and so they noticed the sufferer, Mr Zain Butt. The defendant was seen on CCTV to say one thing to his accomplices.
‘The sufferer heard, “grab the watch, grab the watch”. The defendant stepped away and the opposite two males stood to the aspect of the sufferer.
‘[One] grabbed his wrist whilst the victim was speaking to a female. He grabbed his watch – the value is £150,000.’
Boukerb arrived within the UK in March 2019 with plans to work in a barbers, after which travelled to France and lived there, earlier than returning to England final August.
He was arrested for the watch theft shortly after being launched from prison for an unrelated offence.
Alexia Nicol, defending, advised the courtroom Boukerb is a French nationwide, who was born in France and has an Algerian father.
She mentioned he had travelled to the UK to ‘work to help support his family’ however had struggled to seek out employment on his return from France.
Ms Nicol continued: ‘[He] developed a drug habit. He was told by others it wasn’t a real watch. His profit would have been minimal.’
Boukerb, of Camberwell Road, Southwark, admitted theft and was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in jail.
Judge Joanna Korner forged doubt on Boukerb’s French nationality, asking: ‘If he has a French passport, where is it?’
She advised him: ‘Street theft is one thing that’s all too widespread within the London space.
‘I have no doubt that you and your accomplices picked on Harrods because it is well known that rich people with expensive watches go there. Therefore this was a planned robbery.’
Judge Korner added that the watch had been of ‘extremely high value’ and that, whereas Boukerb didn’t seize it himself, he had acted as a lookout for the crime.
She mentioned: ‘I anticipate in the light of this conviction you will be deported back to Algeria.’