Robbery gang follows rich victims home

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The Independent Online

A gang of robbers are stalking rich victims on nights out and then following them home from bars and clubs, police warned.

A gang of robbers are stalking rich victims on nights out and then following them home from bars and clubs, police warned.

The "highly organised" gang, who are thought to have struck five times, pick their targets in central London before trailing them. Armed with knives, they attack in the street and then force their way into victims' homes – but after one attack they might have left behind a clue in the form of a distinctive Zippo lighter.

They are thought to have struck last in St John's Wood, north London, when at least two men forced their way into a house at 8.15pm on Monday night. The victim, the heiress and music publisher Lisa Voice, had a diamond ring taken from her finger and lost other valuables thought to have been worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Mrs Voice, who is in her fifties, was the partner of the rock'n'roll star Billy Fury, hailed as the British Elvis, for more than a decade before his death in 1983.

Her ordeal lasted up to 10 minutes, before the robbers escaped in a dark BMW.

Detectives investigating the robbery believe it may be linked to four others committed since the end of November.

On 28 November a man in his twenties was robbed at knifepoint in the Kensington and Chelsea area. His watch was stolen and the thieves also took his car, an Audi RS4, which has since been found.

Before it was found the Audi is thought to have been used in the other three robberies, all last month, in which people were robbed of jewellery and watches at their homes in north London after nights out. Each time either two or three black men threatened the victims with knives.

A silver-coloured Zippo lighter was found in the Audi car. It is engraved with "VF 5.12.2001".