Woman Found Guilty in London Jewelry Robbery

A 60-year-old woman has been found guilty for her part in robbing luxury jewelry store Boodles, in London, in March 2016. The woman, Lulu Lakatos, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

The robbery was well-planned as it included several people and took place over multiple days. The criminals met with the store’s staff several times in the days leading up to the heist. They made the staff believe they were buying for a wealthy Russian investor. Lakatos posed as a gem expert and acted as if she was there to check the value of the purchase. However, when staff were distracted, she quickly slipped a purse of jewels into her bag and replaced it with an identical one. The staff checked her bag, but it is likely the purse was in a hidden compartment inside her bag.

Diamonds held by tweezers for close inspection
Diamonds held by tweezers for close inspection (source)

Lakatos and the other criminals left London within three hours on a high-speed train to France. Back at the store, the next day, the staff became suspicious and checked their purse of jewels. They found it contained only worthless pebbles. In total, seven diamonds were taken. One of the diamonds was heart-shaped and worth $3 million. Their combined value was $5.7 million. The gems have not been found.

Lakatos was arrested in 2020. Two men have also been found guilty for their involvement in the crime. The investigation is continuing with the police looking at the involvement of two other women.

Sources: apnews.com, theguardian.com

For source links, see the article on ESLNewsStories.com

Worksheet with activities

Audio

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Useful Language

  • Robbery (n) - the crime of taking something
  • To be found guilty - when a court decides someone did a crime
  • Sentence (v) - when a judge decides how much punishment a person should receive
  • Heist (n) - an act of stealing something, usually from a bank or store
  • Distracted (adj) - to not be focused on the main task
  • Pose as (phr. v) - pretend to be someone
  • Gem (n) - a valuable stone
  • Identical (adj) - the same or looking the same
  • Compartment (n) - an area inside a bigger thing that is separated in some way
  • Suspicious (adj) - feeling that something is wrong
  • Pebble (n) - small stone
  • Involvement (n) - taking part in something

Discussion

Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. What skills do the criminals in this story have?
  2. Which gemstones can you think of besides diamonds? Which is your favorite?
  3. What would you do with $5.7 million?
  4. Do you like heist movies, like Ocean’s Eleven? Why or why not?
  5. In some crime movies, the criminals seem like nice or fun people. Do you think many criminals are nice in real life?
  6. What would you put in a hidden compartment?
  7. What do you think happened to the jewels?
  8. Who would you give a heart-shaped diamond to?