French woman, 59, is charged with Ocean’s Eleven-style diamond theft ‘by swapping gems for pebbles’ at Boodles of Mayfair
- Lulu Lakatos, 59, was charged with conspiracy to steal over theft in March 2016
- The suspect was extradited from France yesterday and appeared at court today
- She is alleged to have posed as gemologist before swapping gems for pebbles
- Lakatos did not enter plea and was remanded in custody until her next court date
A French woman has been charged with an Ocean’s Eleven-style diamond theft ‘by swapping gems for pebbles’ at Boodles in Mayfair.
Lulu Lakatos, 59, was charged with conspiracy to steal over the 2016 theft from the family-owned luxury jeweller after she was extradited from France yesterday.
She is alleged to have been part of an international group of criminals who pretended to be diamond buyers in a scheme likened by police to a film plot.
Lakatos is also suspected to be the thief who posed as a gemologist and appraised the precious stones before allegedly swapping them for pebbles at the store, which counts Victoria Beckham and Emma Thompson as customers, on New Bond Street.
Lulu Lakatos, 59, was charged with conspiracy to steal over the 2016 theft from the family-owned luxury jeweller (pictured) in Mayfair after she was extradited from France yesterday
A padlocked bag containing the fake diamonds was returned to the safe but the theft was discovered the following day when staff at Boodles became suspicious.
Lakatos appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today via videolink from Charing Cross Police Station in central London.
She was addressed in court via a French interpreter.
Alex Alawode, prosecuting, said: ‘In essence, the defendant was involved in a conspiracy to steal just under £4.3million worth of diamonds belonging to Boodles in New Bond Street in Mayfair.
‘The nature of this defendant’s involvement is she is said to have acted as a gemologist and attended a meeting at the store.’
She did not enter a plea, and was remanded in custody until her next appearance at Southwark Crown Court on January 4.
In a statement, the Met Police said: ‘Following her extradition from France to London on Thursday, 3 December, 59 year old Lulu Lakatos of the Saint Brieuc region, in France, has been charged with conspiracy to steal.’
The force added: ‘The arrest and charge relate to an investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad into the high value theft of diamonds from Boodles in Mayfair on 10 March 2016.’
Within three hours of the theft, it is suspected that the thieves had returned to France either by train or car.
The following day, the Boodles director spoke with the fake buyer, who confirmed the money would be transferred.
Lakatos is alleged to have been part of an international group of criminals who pretended to be diamond buyers in a scheme likened by police to a film plot (file photo)
Lakatos is also suspected to be the thief who posed as a gemologist and appraised the precious stones before allegedly swapping them for pebbles at the store (file photo)
But suspicious staff x-rayed the bag then opened it to discover they had been left with pebbles, the court previously heard.
Flying Squad detectives launched an investigation and retraced the suspects’ movements across London as they plotted the heist.
The suspects had used minicabs in a bid to hide their movements but their departure from the country was quickly established.
Earlier this year, James Amos, Director at Boodles in New Bond Street, told MailOnline: ‘This was an unfortunate incident that took place at Boodles over four years ago.
‘Whilst we have moved on from this, we would like to take the opportunity to commend the hard work of ‘The Flying Squad’ who have spent four years bringing these two criminals to justice.’
Detective Constable William Man previously said: ‘This was a well organised theft which evolved over a number of weeks both in London and on the continent.
‘Like the plot of a film, this was a truly audacious crime. They stole the diamonds and fled in a matter of hours. However, they left behind a trail of evidence which led us to where they were staying, and the Citroen they had hired in Paris.
‘As a result of piecing together all of the bits of information, we knew it was only a matter of time before arrests were made.’