A £40,000 heist at the Gala Bingo hall in the Enfield area of North London was facilitated by one of their own staff. Security guard Muhammed Mukungu, from the Harringay area, gave masked raiders access to the Gala Bingo hall where he was working just as his shift ended. Without Mukungu’s involvement it’s believed the criminals would have had no knowledge of the bingo hall. Therefore, the crime wouldn’t have been able to take place in such a devious manner.
The raiders arrived armed with both a crowbar and a gun. They laid in wait at the hall overnight, waiting for the first staff member to arrive in the morning. Carol Bryce arrived for work on May 31st 2010 at 7am and was forced by the armed men to open the fruit machines, and lead them to the company safe before it opened automatically due to its time lock. The criminals also took Ms. Bryce’s mobile phone so she couldn’t covertly alert the police. They tied her up so she couldn’t alert the police until they were long gone. When the morning security guard turned up on shift, the police were finally alerted and Ms. Bryce was untied.
The two culprits have not been found but Mukungu and the alleged getaway driver are both on trial to answer for their part in the heist. 27 year old Damien Latchman of east London is the man accused of helping the criminals escape. Both Latchman and Mukung deny all knowledge and involvement in the crime. The two men kept their faces completely covered and ensured no forensic evidence could be collected by wearing scarves and gloves.
For the prosecution, Tom Wilkins condemned Mukungu’s part in the raid, saying that he used his ‘privileged position and his knowledge of the building’ to facilitate the crime. Mukungu was also referred to as ‘the insider’ by Wilkins throughout the trial and said his knowledge provided the raiders with ‘vital knowhow’ to allow them to commit the robbery.
The jury were also told how Mukungu feigned surprise when he heard of the robbery, but significant amounts of phone evidence were recovered to link him to the crime. The crime was said to cost Gala Bingo around £40,000 and obviously caused seriously psychological damage to Ms. Bryce who was subjected to the raid.
The trial continues and evidence is certainly stacking up against Mukungu, although the raiders allegedly remain at large for the time being.