The Estonian gang that targeted jewelers in Leeds in a million pound raid were stopped after one of the members was captured by passers-by, the West Yorkshire Police reported.
The gang, made up of Alar Kajurand, 44, Rainis Kilk, 26, and Taimar Uibopuu, 30, managed to steal 150 exclusive watches worth a combined 935,000 pounds (over 1.3 million euros) in a raid to a Leeds jewelery shop on March 24.
The men had allegedly arrived in the UK only a few days before the raid. They were tracked down after Uibopuu was pinned to the ground by three men who witnessed the crime from across the street when he was trying to leave the scene. The detectives soon found his accomplishes in a hotel in Manchester, West Yorkshire police said.
Following a trial at Leeds Crown Court the three men were convicted and sent to prison.
Kajurand was jailed for 18 years, Kilk for 18 years and Uibopuu for 15 years.
Detective Inspector Phil Jackson, of Leeds District CID, said: "This was a highly organized criminal gang who had traveled into the country solely to commit high value jewelery robberies.
"They put very detailed planning into the offenses and did everything they could to avoid detection. What they hadn’t bargained on was the very courageous actions of the members of the public who intervened and detained one of the gang at the scene of the Leeds robbery and forced them to leave behind crucial evidence in London.”
"These are clearly dangerous offenders who put staff at the businesses they targeted through terrifying ordeals that have had a lasting traumatic impact on them. We hope that knowing that these men have now had to answer for their actions will provide some source of comfort and reassurance to the victims," Jackson added.
Editor: M. Oll