The mysterious ‘Basil’ finally convicted in audacious $18 million robbery


LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) – The man who went unidentified for years after he walked away a notorious British robbery was found guilty on Friday.

Michael Seed, now 58, was the junior member of a gang of aging criminals who ransacked 73 deposit boxes at the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit building in London’s jewelry district over the Easter weekend of 2015. They stole gold, silver, diamonds and jewelry worth 13.5 million pounds ($18 million).

Investigators had nicknamed him Mr. Ginger because of the red wig he was seen wearing on surveillance video. The rest of the gang called him Basil.

Disguised as workmen, they rappelled down an elevator shaft and used a diamond-tipped drill to cut through the vault wall. It was Britain’s biggest-ever robbery and much of the haul was never recovered.

The rest of the ringleaders were identified in the weeks after the crime: Brian Reader, 77 at the time; Terry Perkins, 67; Daniel Jones, 61; and John “Kenny” Collins, 75. They were convicted in 2016, along with five others who helped them.

But Basil remained unidentified, having last been seen on surveillance video walking away from Hatton Garden with a large plastic bag over his shoulder.

Three years later, police raided Seed’s one-bedroom flat in north London, two miles from the heist site. They found items stolen from Hatton Garden including jewelry and gold ingots. Seed told police he was an amateur jeweler and had come by the items innocently, the CPS said.

Burglar alarm technical manuals were also found, along with signal blockers for alarms and a machine for melting precious metals.

On Friday, Michael Seed was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court in London after the jury accepted prosecution evidence that he was the man who had remained at large.

“(We) were able to … prove he was not only involved but was one of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

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