Four men arrested less than hour after robbing a phone shop in Sevenoaks have received prison sentences totalling almost 10 years.

The gang of thieves concealed their faces with balaclavas before stealing phones and tablets valued at almost £30,000.

Lucian Nicolaie, Eduard Nicolaie and Rinaldo Nicolaie and Marian Petre entered the EE shop in Bligh’s Walk, at around 3.55pm on 3 November 2022.

Staff were ordered to sit and remain silent, while an internal door was kicked open before a stock room was ransacked.  

Getaway car

The men then fled in a getaway car but were seen by witnesses who called 999 and were able to provide details to police including the car’s registration plate.

The Audi A5 was quickly identified and tracked by patrols to the M25, where it was travelling in the direction of the Dartford River Crossing. It was intercepted at around 4.30pm on the Essex side and all four occupants were arrested.

Searches of the Audi led to the recovery of the stolen items. The criminals’ balaclavas were also seized.

Eduard Nicolaie, 36, and Lucian Nicolaie, 21, from Barking, Essex pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to counts of robbery and burglary.

Sentencing took place on Friday 5 May 2023, when they were each jailed for three years.

Rinaldo Nicolaie, 20, aloso from Barking, admitted the same offences and was sentenced to three years and three months at a young offender institution.

Marian Petre, 23, from East Ham, London, pleaded guilty to robbery and received a 22-month sentence, which was suspended. Petre was ordered to complete 100 hours’ unpaid work, within a year.

Vital witness information

Leading the investigation was DC Matt Thomas, who said: ‘This was a planned and targeted robbery where all four offenders acted together, each having a specific role. Their aggressive and threatening actions left staff in genuine fear for their safety.

‘The evidence was thankfully overwhelming, leaving these men no choice but to plead guilty. I would like to thank and commend the witnesses whose quick thinking provided crucial information to help us identify and catch them in such a short space of time.’ 

By Ed

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