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Robber who nicked guitars with wife linked to Roma mob in Canada

Veniamin Raducanu and Madelina Iancu
Veniamin Raducanu and Madelina Iancu

A ‘distraction’ thief who hit the headlines after he was convicted of stealing guitars with his pregnant wife is an alleged member of an international Roma gypsy crime gang who terrorised Canada.

This week, Veniamin Raducanu was given a six-month sentence for stealing two expensive guitars worth more than €6,000 from two shops in Dublin city centre.

His partner-in-crime, and pregnant wife, Madelina Iancu (19), also received a six-month suspended sentence in Dublin District Court.

However, it is not the first time Raducanu has fallen foul of the law.

In 2012 he was named by police as an alleged member of an international Roma gypsy gang which targeted shops and elderly people in Canada.

Raducanu was linked to the multi-million dollar organised crime ring following a major operation by police in Ontario, known as Project Mansfield. 

Police alleged that people from Romania were recruited to join the theft and fraud operation.

They were assisted with applying for welfare and then enlisted to act in bands of thieves who spread out across Ontario and Quebec, police claimed.

A total of 34 people were arrested and 263 charges were laid in the largest investigation of its kind in Durham Region. Raducanu, then aged 19, was charged with participating in a criminal organisation, breaking and entering and theft.

However, it appears Raducanu has not learned from his earlier brush with the law.

He is currently living at a detached house in west Dublin which he shares with a number of other individuals, according to local residents.

They added that a number of people appear to live at the house and that it was not uncommon for high-end cars to come and go.

While a modest economy sized car was parked out front this week, there were a number of high-end cars in the back yard.

 

Maserati parked outside home where  Raducanu is staying – there is no suggestion the car was bought with crime proceeds

These include a stunning white Maserati Gran Turismo, a BMW and a Mercedes.

There is no suggestion the cars were bought with the proceeds of crime.

People inside the house this week didn’t answer the door when the Snday World attempted to make contact with them.

The young couple ended up in court this week after they had gone into two Dublin city centre music stores to steal guitars.

Iancu lifted the high-performance electric guitars from music shops by hiding them up her long skirt.

They stole two guitars, worth €6,000, in two visits to Dublin city centre shops on consecutive days, a court heard. Raducanu, who claimed to have an “interest in music”, was jailed for six months for his part in the theft, while Iancu had her six-month sentence fully suspended. He was later granted bail pending an appeal against the sentence.

Judge Michael Walsh said they had been “carefully planned, carefully orchestrated” crimes.

They stole a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, worth €2,999, from X Music on Exchequer Street on July 2. The following day they stole a €3,000 Warner guitar at Some Neck Guitars on Aungier Street.

The couple, from Coolmine Court, Blanchardstown, both pleaded guilty to theft and Garda obstruction.

Both of them violently resisted arrest the following day when gardaí called at their home with a search warrant.

Officers found the guitars undamaged in a back bedroom.

 

The couple (above), from Romania, had been in Ireland since February and neither had any previous convictions here.

“It was opportunistic. They thought they had got away with it the first time and did it again,” according to their solicitor.

It is the first time Raducanu had come to the attention of the Gardaí. However, he was well-known to police in Canada after being arrested as part of a major sting operation.

In 2011, two Canadian police officers noticed criminals were committing distraction-style thefts and frauds. Thieves would target jewellery stores, shops and senior citizens.

As one person distracted the victims others would steal valuable goods.

Men, women and children all took part, concealing stolen items inside long skirts with fitted compartments.

Following a lengthy investigation it emerged that more than 400 people were associated with the criminal organisation. It was reported that many of the individuals applied for refugee status after arriving in Canada.

Investigators seized $85,000 in cash and stolen goods and identified more than $1 million in suspicious wire transactions to foreign locations.

A number of those charged were reported to have left the country. 

Speaking to the Toronto Sun at the time Police chief Mike Ewles called it “a major breakthrough in an organized crime ring that’s been active throughout southern Ontario”.

Chief Ewles said the ring was highly organised and efficient, luring participants from Romania with promises of a better life in Canada and then enlisting them in criminal pursuits.

“People would arrive on a Thursday and by the following Saturday would be involved in distraction thefts,” he said.

The investigation began in Durham Region but soon grew to include the several law enforcement agencies across Canada and the United States.