[CCTV] 02/13/08 - A gang of bungling thieves were caught less than 200 yards from the jewelers they robbed - after their getaway driver stopped at a red light.
CCTV operators watched the daylight raid and called police the moment they saw the dozy trio enter the shop wielding sledgehammers.
The criminals fled the scene, but officers were on hand to catch them as they adhered to traffic laws, just two minutes into their farcical escape.
To make the arrest even easier, the van carrying Malachi Jones, 19, Corey Fregis, 19, and Kiley Nightingale, 22, signalled right telling police which direction they were going.
Nightingale and Jones gave up the moment police surrounded the vehicle in Maidstone, Kent.
Fregis tried to make a run for it, but he tripped over the white forensic style suit he was wearing as a disguise and was quickly apprehended.
Prosecutor Trevor Wright told Maidstone Crown Court on Friday that customers at the Fraser Hart shop were "frozen in terror" and rushing to collect their children as the men carried out the lunch time raid on February 13 this year.
He explained that the sledgehammers were held "in such a threatening manner that any member of the public would have been forgiven for thinking any move forward would result in a brutal and savage attack".
Speaking yesterday, PC Fiona Bruce, who helped catch the trio, said: "Its a once in a lifetime opportunity, to have that given to you and to have the result at the end of it.
"For everyone working on it, it was a brilliant result."
A police source added: "I wish every criminal would make our job this easy.
"It isnt just that they stopped at the red traffic light, but the fact that it was so close to the jewellers.
"They only got 200 yards and were all caught within five minutes of the raid.
"They must have terrified other shoppers as the raid took place at 2pm when a lot of people were on lunch, but in the end they only got away with £30,000 of Rolex watches.
"We all know how much those kind of watches sell for, so they didnt get very many."
The trio, all from south east London, were each jailed for three years and nine months for the store raid.
Tags: robbery, cctv, jewelry store, police, traffic light,
Location: Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
Marked as: approved, featured
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