Two Serbian nationals have been handed partially conditional prison sentences of 36 and 34 months and banned from returning to Switzerland for eight years after they were convicted of robbing a jewellery in the Metalli centre in August of 2017.
It was heard in court how the two men had come to Switzerland to work illegally. However, when this did not work out, they decided to rob a jewellery store instead.
The pair arrived in Switzerland that summer. One of them was a former night watchman in a rehabilitation centre in Belgrade where he had met a patient from Geneva who had told him if ever he needed a job to contact him. Hence the former watchman set off, accompanied by a friend, a graduate of a police academy. However, when the pair arrived in Switzerland, they were not able to contact their friend in Geneva. They waited a while but as their funds were getting low, they decided to rob the Bruno Iten jewellery store in the Metalli centre.
It was at 9 am on Thursday 24 August, that the pair entered the shop, bound the sole assistant, a young woman, and taped her mouth. However, she was able to remove the tape, free her hands and put up such a struggle that the pair put her in the toilet, although they had previously agreed with each other not to use violence. It was in the toilet that, unknown to the assailants, there was also alarm button, of which she made use, the pair duly fleeing the shop but not before having helped themselves to jewellery valued at CHF 245,708. In court they said they only wanted to steal enough to be able to settle their debts. As was heard several times, the pair insisted they really regretted what they had done and had not intended to use any form of violence. While the night watchman was able to be detained in Croatia, his partner in crime was able to be arrested while still in Zug.
Since their arrest they have been detained in Bostadel prison near Menzingen, where their behaviour has been described as exemplary, neither of them having had criminal record prior to the robbery, neither here in Switzerland, nor in Serbia.
It was heard in court how much the shop assistant had suffered. Owing to the physical injuries resulting from her being tied up, not to mention the trauma she endured, she was not able to return to work full time until June of the following year. Indeed, her lawyer called for compensation amounting to CHF 22,000.
Defending his clients, the pair’s lawyer said they went about tying up the assistant in a most careful way, one of them giving her a kiss on the forehead. They denied locking her in the toilet, merely telling her to stay there. They insisted it had all been planned at the last minute and did not even bother to wear masks.
As mentioned, the pair were handed partially conditional sentences of 36 and 34 months’ imprisonment, reduced to 14 and 12 months, meaning that, as they have been in prison for some time, they are free to leave. In fact they have been forced to leave, each handed an eight-year ban before being allowed to return to Switzerland.
Compensation of CHF 2,000 was awarded to the shop assistant, though she is also pursuing a claim in the civil courts.
This article is based on one by Christopher Gilb.