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A man stole a diamond ring from Hardy Brothers in Melbourne's CBD, shattering the glass to break in
A man stole a diamond ring from Hardy Brothers in Melbourne's CBD, shattering the glass to break in
 










Thieves rob hobbyist, Hardy Brothers

A gemstone and jewellery hobbyist had his collection of rings stolen, while another man flogged a million-dollar ring for $300,000.
Three men are currently appearing before a Townsville judge, accused of breaking into a home in broad daylight and stealing over 300 rings from a hobbyist’s collection, reportedly worth around $500,000.

Victim, Phillip Lynch-Harlow lost 384 rings created over 15 years of gem cutting, gold and silver smithing. Lynch-Harlow’s collection consisted of 9-18ct gold rings set with diamonds, sapphires, garnets, rubies and other rare stones – including colour-change stones and gems from around the world.

The Townsville Bulletin reported that two of the three accused, Joshua Mareko and Brooks Angus McCallum pleaded guilty last week in the Townsville District Court to “burglary by break in company” and “stealing in excess of $5,000.”

Due to “sheer cost,” none of the rings were insured. Lynch-Harlow claimed that 24 plain gold rings, 24 rare stones and other pieces of his wife’s jewellery collection also went missing.

Crown prosecutor, Belinda Bray said the accused had not planned to target Lynch-Harlow, rather deciding to break into a house after going for a walk and which happened to be the complainants.

Despite the crown valuing the stolen goods at $453,120, the initial claim was reduced by half because Lynch-Harlow was unable to provide receipts or records.

“There’s a difficulty in putting an exact figure on the items taken because Mr Lynch-Harlow is just a hobbyist,” Bray told the Townsville Bulletin.

Judge John Baulch SC is expected to sentence the pair, while a third accused is yet to face court.

In a separate court case a Melbourne thief is facing six years in prison after hawking a million-dollar ring in Thailand for a mere $300,000.

George Georgiou, formerly a resident of the northeast suburb of Northcote, smashed the store window of Hardy Brothers Jewellers in March 2009, stealing a 9.1-carat diamond ring.

As previously reported in Jeweller, Georgiou smashed a hole in the Hardy Brothers window with a sledgehammer as the shop closed, snatching the diamond ring from a display case.

After the smash-and-grab heist, Georgiou fled to Thailand and reportedly sold the ring for $300,000.

Prosecutor Raymond Elston, SC, told the County Court pre-sentence hearing last week that Georgiou fled to Thailand the day after the robbery.

Georgiou was arrested in Thailand later that year, spending eight months in a Bangkok prison before being extradited to Australia in 2010.

In addition to the million-dollar-robbery, Georgiou pleaded guilty to two counts of theft after he was charged with stealing a diamond ring worth $26,885 from a stall at Melbourne’s Camberwell market back in November 2008.

Elston said the stallholder had removed the 2.6-carat diamond ring from her finger for Georgiou to inspect, but when she turned to attend to another customer, he fled with the ring, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Janine Gleeson, lawyer for the defence said that while the Hardy Brothers robbery was well planned and orchestrated, Georgiou’s stealing from the market stallholder was more opportunistic, and added that no violence or threats were involved.

Gleeson added that Georgiou had a long history of criminal theft, claiming that such robberies were undertaken to fund a gambling problem.

Elston called for Georgiou to be jailed for a maximum of five to six years, with a non-parole period of three to four years.

Georgiou will remain in custody until Judge Margaret Rizkalla sentences him on October 31.  

More reading:
Accused $1m diamond thief in court
Thieves arrested in $700,000 jewellery heist
Jewellers hit by crime wave









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