Gang of shop raiders get 94 yrs in the slammer
A gang who carried out a series of armed shop robberies – including one in which a jeweller suffered a cardiac arrest after being attacked with a machete – has been jailed for a total of 94 years following a West Mids Police investigation.
The most shocking raid came on 6 February last year and saw Kashuan Heath, Michael Edwards, Waqqas Mughal and Kieron Morgan storm Rofia Jewellers in Dudley’s Wellington Road.
Morgan posed as a wealthy Sheikh customer to trick staff into unlocking the exterior door before the group used a metal battering ram to force open a second barrier. They laid into the owner – a man in his 70s – before making off with a significant quantity of jewellery.
Three weeks later, on 27 February, the gang struck again and this time used a flat-bed truck to ram raid Jai Jewellers in Smethwick’s Cape Hill and made off with jewellery worth thousands of pounds.
West Midlands Police forensics experts found blood on one of the smashed display cabinets which returned a DNA hit to 24-year-old Heath, from Landswood Road in Oldbury, who was later jailed for a total of 22 years.
Detectives analysed Heath’s phone and, combined with wider police intelligence work, used messages and contacts to later identify the other gang members.
Edwards, aged 25 from Harvest Fields in Rowley Regis, was arrested alongside two other men – Damon Boyce and Pedro Taylor-Powell – on 28 June last year by West Midlands Police cops responding to three Tesco shop raids inside 90 minutes.
The trio attacked Tesco Express stores in Rowley Regis, Oxhill Road in Handsworth and Aldridge – making off with cash, cigarettes and alcohol – but were caught following a pursuit after their third strike.
Detectives also linked Edwards and 34-year-old Boyce, from Higgins Walk in Smethwick, to two previous Tesco robberies in Bristnall Hall Road, Smethwick, and the Oxhill Road on 11 and 18 June respectively.
All six appeared at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (1 March) where Michael Edwards was found guilty and sentenced to 28 years in jail.
Waqqas Mughal, aged 29 from Unett Street in Smethwick, was sentenced to 18 years and 26-year-old Kieron Morgan from Hull was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
Damon Boyce was jailed for seven years and Powell, aged 34 from Parkenston Crescent in Kingstanding was given a four year sentence.
West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Jamie Mason, said:
“These men showed they were prepared to use extreme levels of violence to get what they wanted: during the Dudley raid the shopkeeper was set upon with weapons and suffered a heart attack.
“He was left for dead by the gang who swiped a large quantity of valuables. Fortunately, the man recovered from the incident but we could easily have been investigating a murder.
“Our breakthrough came with the discovery of Heath’s blood after he cut his hand while smashing jewellery cabinets. He was swiftly arrested and handed a long jail term – and now his associates have followed him behind bars.”
A seventh member of the group – 28-year-old Ryan Goodwin from Wallace Road in Oldbury – will be sentenced at a later date for car theft having admitted supplying two stolen cars that the group used as getaway vehicles.