A burglar who stole a lifetime’s collection of antique coins from a world-renowned collector has been sentenced to four years in jail, despite being currently on the run from the police.
Dominik Kuzio, 31 was convicted at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, October 18 of breaking into Simon Bendall’s Westminster home and given a sentence of four years’ imprisonment in his absence.
Mr Bendall, 80, who died in June 2019 aged 80, was a world-renowned expert on ancient coins and had gathered an extensive personal collection over his lifetime.
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However, a year before his death on February 12, 2018, Kuzio forced his way into Mr Bendall’s apartment in Ashley Mansions and ransacked his home.
When Mr Bendall returned home his collection of ancient coins, medals, spoons and watches, worth more than £100,000, had been stolen, along with a laptop.
Police were called and forensic examiners scoured the scene, locating DNA that was found to match Kuzio.
He was located, arrested and interviewed before being bailed. However he failed to answer his bail date, or acknowledge when he was charged.
Kuzio was subsequently arrested in relation to another matter for which he appeared in court for in 2020.
However he was given court bail and and has not been seen since.
Detectives have worked tirelessly to track him down but as yet he has not been located. Officers believe he may have fled to Poland, but ‘remain open-minded’ that he could still be in the UK.
They urge anyone who has information as to Kuzio’s whereabouts, or that of Mr Bendall’s coin collection, to make contact immediately.
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Detective constable Samuel Turner, investigating officer, said: “Though I’m glad we have secured this conviction and sentencing, the outcome is bitter-sweet while Kuzio is outstanding.
“Mr Bendall never saw the man guilty for the theft of his life’s work convicted, nor did he ever see the return of his collection. The property has never been recovered.
“Any burglary is a heinous crime because it is so callous and invasive, but in this instance it is all the more upsetting for Mr Bendall’s family because the treasured items that were stolen were so personal to him. His interest in ancient coins was sparked as a teenager and it was a passion that he enjoyed throughout his life.
“My direct advice to Kuzio would be to do the honourable thing and give yourself up. It is only a matter of time before you are found, and this sentence is still going to be there when you are.”
Anyone who has information that could help police is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC ref CRIS 6507683/18.
Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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