Two plead guilty to $500Gs smash-and-grab robbery at London, Ont. jewelry store

A third accused, 32-year-old Nevin McCrea, didn’t attend the trial and the court issued a warrant for his arrest.

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Two London men pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 worth of merchandise during a 2019 smash-and-grab at a west London jewelry store.

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Troy Wolfe, 34, and Matthew Simpson, 37, each pleaded guilty Monday to one charge of robbery in the March 19, 2019, armed robbery of Gordons Gold Jewellers.

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A third accused, 32-year-old Nevin McCrea, didn’t attend the trial and the court issued a warrant for his arrest.

On the day of the robbery, three men arrived at the Hyde Park Road business shortly before 6:30 p.m. in a stolen Volkswagen Passat being driven by Wolfe, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court.

While Wolfe waited in the getaway vehicle, the other two men, armed with sledgehammers and with their faces covered, entered the store and began smashing display cases, snatching pieces of jewelry that cost the business $530,000. The retail value was “significantly higher,” court was told.

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The suspects fled in the stolen vehicle and met with Simpson, who was waiting for them in a black van on Valetta Street in the Oakridge subdivision, about 1.3 kilometres from the scene of the robbery.

Once in the van, all four suspects left London “at a high rate of speed” and went to an address on River Road in Oneida Nation of the Thames, southwest of London.

Police eventually caught up with them. Simpson was arrested while still inside the getaway van. The three other suspects were located with the help of police dogs as they tried to flee the area by crossing the Thames River, the statement of facts said.

In the area of the arrest, police found a burn pile and were able to recover several items from the fire, including two sledgehammers with orange handles and a red, grey and black duffel bag. The items matched those seen in security footage of the robbery.

Police also found masks and gloves that they used to obtain DNA samples that matched those of Wolfe. As well, his wallet was found inside the van carrying several personal documents, including his health card, court was told.

Wolfe’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 17. Simpson’s sentencing will take place in the fall.

A fourth suspect in the case, Mason Ireland, entered a plea in the case about a year ago. It wasn’t immediately known the outcome of his charges.

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