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European manhunt for suspect in £26m London burglaries targeting celebrities

The Independent logo The Independent 05/11/2021 Aisha Rimi
F1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone and her husband Jay Rutland had £26m worth of property stolen in December 2019 - Getty Images © Getty Images

F1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone and her husband Jay Rutland had £26m worth of property stolen in December 2019

- Getty Images

European authorities are on the hunt for a man accused of one of the biggest burglaries in English legal history.

Alfredo Lindley, a 40-year-old Peruvian national, is said to have led a series of burglaries on the luxury home of three celebrities in December 2019, including that of Tamara Ecclestone, F1 heiress, which saw £25m worth of personal property stolen. Most of the stolen jewellery and watches stolen from Ms Ecclestone’s property have never been recovered.

Italian authorities also believe Mr Lindley burgled the home of Patrick Vierira, the Crystal Palace manager, in 2009.

Court documents obtained by the BBC show that Mr Lindley has a criminal record in Italy for multiple crimes, including scams and burglaries dating back to 1995. They also show that he has used at least 19 aliases and that these fake identities have links to a number of European cities, including Sarajevo, Milan, Zagreb and Belgrade, where it’s believed he is currently located.

He appeared in court on 27 August in Belgrade under the alias Ljubomir Romanov and was faced with extradition to the UK. The case was brought by the Republic of Serbia’s specialised department for organised crime, however, the extradition was refused by Serbian authorities.

Met Police detectives say Lindley is "wanted for questioning in respect of a series of high-value burglaries committed in December 2019 in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea". He is believed to have burgled not only Ms Ecclestone’s home but also Frank Lampard’s and the deceased owner of Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Earlier this year, four Romanian nationals were cleared of conspiracy to commit burglary after a two-month trial. Italian nationals Jugoslav Jovanovic, 24, Alessandro Donati, 44, and Alessandro Maltese, 45, were extradited from Italy to the UK and have admitted their part in the raids. They will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 15 November.

On 30 November 2019, using the name Daniel Vukovic, Mr Lindley and Mr Jovanic arrived at London Stansted from Stockholm and set up base at a hotel in Orpington, south-east London. The following day Jovanic burgled the home of Frank and Christine Lampard while the couple was out. Police have also accused Mr Lindley of being involved in the burglary which saw more than £50,000 worth of items were stolen, including white-gold Patek Philippe cufflinks, a Cartier pocket watch, two rose-gold ladies’ watches and a Mia Lia gold necklace.

On 10 December, a property owned by Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s family in Knightsbridge was burgled. After his death in a helicopter crash in Leicester in October 2018, the home has remained untouched. Seven Patek Philippe watches, a Tag Heuer smartwatch and about €400,000 in cash were stolen.

The Ecclestone raid took place on 13 December after the family left for a holiday to Lapland. The home, shared by Ms Ecclestone and her husband, Jay Rutland, is situated in Kensington Palace Gardens, the most expensive street in the world, which also houses the Israeli, Russian and French embassies.

Italian authorities believe Mr Lindley is also linked to other high-profile burglaries. They believe that I. September 2009, he and some accomplices raised the homes of international footballers Patrick Vieira and Sulley Muntari. Italian court documents allege the gang stole €15,000 in cash, jewellery and 28 "fine watches" worth about €200,000. Court proceedings against him are still yet to take place.

The documents also state that on New Year’s Eve 2010, Lindley was caught on camera entering the Milan apartment of Maria Luisa Gavazzeni, the widow of the designer Nicola Trussardi. He stole €2m worth of jewellery with his accomplices and was jailed for two years and four months for his part in the burglary.

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