Crime & the Law

Fabergé Christie’s auction house burglar jailed

Christie's famous auction house in King Street St James's. Image: Google Street View

Christie’s famous auction house in King Street St James’s. Image: Google Street View

A man who broke into Christie’s auction house to steal more than three quarter of a million pounds worth of property including Fabergé jewellery has been jailed for two years and four months.

45 year old Glaswegian Richard Tobin was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court (8/4/2015) after previously admitting two counts of non-residential burglary.

He first burgled Muzinich and Co in Hanover Street W1 on Friday 5th December last year.

CCTV showed Tobin entering the building at 44 minutes after midnight, and breaking into a number of locked desk drawers.

He left after apparently only stealing a rucksack and a pair of headphones.

Two days later Tobin was seen on CCTV entering Christie’s in King Street SW1.

He left around 25 minutes later having stolen a number of high-value items from a safe.

They included an 1899 Fabergé gold and guilloche enamel desk clock, a Fabergé gold and silver mounted aquamarine and diamond necklace, a Fabergé ring and a Mappin and Webb cutlery set, each worth £25,000.

Staff discovered the break-in when they came into work in the morning.

Tobin was quickly identified from the CCTV images.

45 year old Richard Tobin jailed for high value jewellery burglary from Christie's Auction House. Image: Met Police

45 year old Richard Tobin jailed for high value jewellery burglary from Christie’s Auction House. Image: Met Police

Detectives found a distinctive red coat he had been pictured wearing on the CCTV during both burglaries.

The items stolen – totalling around £760,000 – have not been recovered and efforts continue to trace them.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Jim Groves, from Westminster CID, said:

Tobin was an opportunist thief who stole a large number of valuable items which have not yet been recovered.

A Christie’s spokesperson said:

Christie’s would like to thank the Metropolitan Police for their effective investigation into this crime. It is very disappointing that the thief has chosen not to disclose the whereabouts of the stolen items. But given their unique nature, we hope that they will be identified and returned to their rightful owners.

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