Police launch manhunt for mastermind behind Ecclestone raid

Police launch manhunt across Europe for mastermind behind multi-million pound burglary spree on homes of Tamara Ecclestone, Frank Lampard and Patrick Vieira

  • Alfredo Lindley is accused of targeting celebrities in a series of heists in 2019 
  • Raid on F1 heiress’ £70million, 55-room mansion biggest in English legal history
  • 40-year-old has a criminal record dating back to 1995 for scams and burglaries 

Alfredo Lindley is accused of targeting celebrities in a series of heists in December 2019

A Europe-wide manhunt has been launched for the suspected mastermind behind a multi-million pound burglary at Tamara Ecclestone’s west London mansion as well as raids on homes belonging to Frank Lampard and Patrick Vieira.

Alfredo Lindley is accused of targeting celebrities in a series of heists in December 2019, including the F1 heiress’ £70million, 55-room mansion near Kensington Palace in what is considered to be the biggest value burglary in English legal history.

In a plot worthy of a movie, the gang managed to evade the tightest of security and plunder jewellery and cash worth £25million before seemingly vanishing into thin air. Most of the loot is believed to have been smuggled abroad and has never been recovered.

Lindley is also accused of overseeing a raid that took some £50,000 worth of property from the west London home of Chelsea FC legend Frank Lampard and his television presenter wife Christine. 

They also swiped £1m worth of goods from the home of late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

In addition, Italian authorities have linked Lindley to a raid on the home of Patrick Vieira, now Crystal Palace manager, in 2009.

The 40-year-old has a criminal record dating back to 1995 for scams and burglaries under multiple identities, according to court documents seen by the BBC.

Over the past decade he has used at least 19 aliases, including Ljubomir Romanov, Ljubomir Radosavlejic and Daniel Vukovic.

Tamara Ecclestone with her husband Jay Rutland (left) and Frank and Christine Lampard 

These identities have been linked to a range of European cities including Sarajevo, Milan, Zagreb and Belgrade.

He appeared in a court in the Serb capital on August 27 facing extradition to the UK but this was turned down and he is believed to still be in the city, the BBC reported.

The Met said 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’.

Three Italian nationals, Jugoslav Jovanovic, 24, Alessandro Maltese, 45, and Alessandro Donati, 44, have admitted to taking part in the Ecclestone raid and will be sentenced later this month.

Last month Jovanovic admitted conspiracy to commit money laundering in an 11th hour plea before his trial was set to start.

He earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to convert criminal property, namely a ‘quantity of money,’ at Harrods on 14 December 2019.

All three admitted conspiracy to burgle the properties earlier this year at Isleworth Crown Court.

Ms Ecclestone was on a skiing holiday with her husband Jay Rutland and her children at the time of the raid on December 13, 2019.

Italian authorities have also linked Lindley to a raid on the home of Patrick Vieira, now Crystal Palace manager, in 2009

Her home in Kensington was so huge that security staff did not even notice the thieves breaking in through the back garden.

The raids left the gang with ‘money to burn’ and they squandered a fortune celebrating their success in the West End’s upmarket shops and restaurants.

Mr Cray earlier told the court: ‘These crimes were organised: the thieves did not just happen to find their way to the target houses by chance and they did not just steal and launder £26 million worth of property by luck.

‘They hit these three houses in just 13 days – between 1 December and 13 December last year and by 18 December most of the people involved had left the country, almost certainly, we suggest, with the proceeds of the crimes.’

The burglars carried out the first raid at the home former Chelsea and England midfielder Lampard, 43, shares with his TV presenter wife Christine Lampard.

On the evening of December 1 the raiders rang the front doorbell to check the celebrity couple were out.

They broke in through the back garden and fled with watches, a clock and a pair of cufflinks when an alarm went off.

On December 10, the gang hit the Knightsbridge home of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha in Walton Place.

The raid took place more than a year after he was killed in a helicopter accident after a Leicester City game.

Jugoslav Jovanovic (far left), 24, was part of an organised international gang of thieves who ransacked Ms Ecclestone’s home.  He was joined by Alessandro Maltese, 45, nicknamed the ‘Pink Panther’, and 44-year-old Alessandro Donati (far right)

They broke in through patio doors and managed to force open a safe escaping with £1 million in property including watches and 400,000 in euros.

On December 13 the gang turned to Ms Ecclestone’s mansion.

‘Once in the house, the house is just so big that the guards didn’t realise the burglars were in and didn’t realise what was going on until the burglary was underway,’ said Mr Cray.

‘The security guards present did not see the men enter through the back garden.

‘Although the guards disturbed them at the end, they made their getaway via a series of taxis back to Orpington, leaving behind at the property two of their burner mobile telephones.’

Jovanovic, who lives in Italy, was arrested by armed officers who stormed a seaside villa near Rome last October.

He was extradited to the UK nearly six months later on 2 April.

The raid on Ms Ecclestone’s Kensington property was the biggest domestic burglary in English legal history  

Jovanovic, of no fixed address, admitted conspiracy to burgle, between 30 November 2019 and 1 February 2020, attempting to convert criminal property and (denied) conspiracy to commit money laundering between 30 November and 1 February 2020.

Maltese and Donati, both of no fixed address, admitted conspiracy to burgle.

Romanian sex worker Maria Mester, 47, and her barman son Emile-Bogdan Savastru, 29, together with security worker Sorin Marcovici AKA ‘The Professor’, 52 and hotel worker Alexandru Stan, 49, were cleared by a jury of conspiracy to burgle in January this year.

A fourth alleged burglar, Daniel Vukovic, 40, has never been caught and is believed to be in Serbian capital Belgrade. 

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