The mysterious ‘Basil’ finally convicted in audacious $18 million robbery

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) – The man who went unidentified for
years after he walked away a notorious British robbery was found
guilty on Friday.

Michael Seed, now 58, was the junior member of a gang of aging
criminals who ransacked 73 deposit boxes at the Hatton Garden
Safety Deposit building in London’s jewelry district over the
Easter weekend of 2015. They stole gold, silver, diamonds and
jewelry worth 13.5 million pounds ($18 million).

Investigators had nicknamed him Mr. Ginger because of the red
wig he was seen wearing on surveillance video. The rest of the gang
called him Basil.

Disguised as workmen, they rappelled down an elevator shaft and
used a diamond-tipped drill to cut through the vault wall. It was
Britain’s biggest-ever robbery and much of the haul was never
recovered.

The rest of the ringleaders were identified in the weeks after
the crime: Brian Reader, 77 at the time; Terry Perkins, 67; Daniel
Jones, 61; and John “Kenny” Collins, 75. They were convicted in
2016, along with five others who helped them.

But Basil remained unidentified, having last been seen on
surveillance video walking away from Hatton Garden with a large
plastic bag over his shoulder.

Three years later, police raided Seed’s one-bedroom flat in
north London, two miles from the heist site. They found items
stolen from Hatton Garden including jewelry and gold ingots. Seed
told police he was an amateur jeweler and had come by the items
innocently, the CPS said.

Burglar alarm technical manuals were also found, along with
signal blockers for alarms and a machine for melting precious
metals.

On Friday, Michael Seed was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court in
London after the jury accepted prosecution evidence that he was the
man who had remained at large.

“(We) were able to … prove he was not only involved but was
one of the ringleaders,” said Kate Mulholland of the Crown
Prosecution Service (CPS). “He was the only member of the group
with the technical knowledge to defeat complex alarm
systems.”

When the other ringleaders were sentenced, Judge Christopher
Kinch said: “It is clear that the burglary … stands in a class
of its own in the scale of the ambition, the detail of the
planning, the level of preparation and the organization of the team
carrying it out.”

Like Britain’s Great Train Robbery of 1963, with which the
Hatton Garden raid was inevitably compared, it became the basis for
films. In last year’s “King of Thieves,” Charlie Cox
portrayed Basil, alongside Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Tom
Courtenay, Jim Broadbent and Ray Winstone.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Michael Holden)

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
The mysterious ‘Basil’ finally convicted in audacious million robbery