Man jailed for 2014 Bury St Edmunds armed robbery

A 50-year-old man has been jailed for 12 years for his role in an armed robbery at a jeweller’s shop in Bury St Edmunds, during which almost £200,000 worth of watches were stolen. 

Robertas Piliukaitis, of Northwood in Dublin, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, Wednesday 6 May, where he was given a total sentence of 16 years, comprised of 12 years’ imprisonment and an extended licence period of four years.

He had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing on Monday 10 February, to the charges of robbery and threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place.

The crime occurred at around 4.50pm on Tuesday 4 November 2014, when Robertas Piliukaitis and another man entered Preston and Duckworth in Cornhill and Piliukaitis threatened staff and customers with a black handgun, which was later found to have been an imitation firearm.

The second man then smashed a display cabinet with what is believed to have been a hammer, before stealing 28 Breitling watches.

The two men then left the shop and were chased down Skinner Street and into Whiting Street by a member of the public who had witnessed the incident from outside the shop, before making their escape.

In interview, Piliukaitis stated that he had been driven to Bury St Edmunds by his accomplice and after the robbery they got into the car which they had left parked nearby and drove back to King’s Lynn where he was residing at the time.  

They later caught a train to London from King’s Lynn and from there travelled on a minibus to Lithuania, with Piliukaitis claiming the robbery was carried-out to pay for his ‘ticket home’.

During an examination of the jeweller’s shop by Crime Scene Investigators, a blank handgun cartridge was discovered on the floor and following examination a full DNA profile was recovered from it which matched that of Robertas Piliukaitis.

Piliukaitis was then circulated as wanted and came to the attention of Suffolk Police again at the end of December last year, after he was arrested by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in connection with matters there.

As a result of this he spent 12 days in prison in Northern Ireland and upon his release on Saturday 11 January, he was again arrested by the PSNI on behalf Suffolk Constabulary.

He was brought back to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning by officers from Suffolk Police and subsequently charged with the armed robbery at Preston and Duckworth.

Detective Sergeant Robert Simmons, the investigating officer, said: “It has been a long road to justice for Robertas Piliukaitis, but it caught up with him in the end. 

“This was a terrifying incident for the staff and customers who were inside the shop on that Tuesday afternoon, with three of those present children aged under 16 and I can only imagine how afraid they must have felt having a gun pointed at them.

“Robertas Piliukaitis – despite his years on the run – has at least had the decency to admit his crime and has shown remorse for his actions. Although not wanting to absolve himself from the responsibility of what he did, he said it was committed under duress and with fear of repercussions if he did not comply.

“Piliukaitis did not commit this robbery alone and we remain committed to pursuing his accomplices. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to come forward and help us catch all of those responsible.

“Crime does not pay and what I hope this demonstrates is that no matter how long the passage of time, we will continue to pursue the offenders of serious offences such as this and do not give up on catching them and putting them before the courts.”

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact West CID at Bury St Edmunds Police Station, quoting reference: 23068/15.