Assizes de Vaucluse: the robbery of an Orange jeweler is retried on appeal

The Gard criminal chamber, chaired by Laurent Fabre, is examining this week a case of robberies at gunpoint committed in May and June 2013 in Avignon and Orange. Prosecuted in March 2017 by the Vaucluse Criminal Chamber, Nacer Zammit, 29, and Cédric Patano, 43, sentenced respectively to 15 and 8 years in prison, will be tried on appeal. A third defendant, Boubaka M'Hamed, 43, sentenced to 14 years, did not appeal the sentence.

The matter would have started with a “joke” thrown by a jeweler from Orange to his clients: after a tax adjustment, he would have said that a robbery would be good for him… Cédric Patano would have taken him at his word and talked about “the affair” to Boubaka M'Hamed, one of his friends, who in turn allegedly proposed the hit on Nacer Zammit, 27, a man with whom he remained in prison. The trio met in Tavel and decided to act quickly by setting up the what they call a “real-false robbery”… that is, it would be an insurance trick, a thesis vigorously questioned by the victim.

After stealing a pharmacist's Audi RS3 in Avignon on May 15, 2013, the trio headed to Orange on June 11 to rob the jewelry store. After forcing the entrance door, they took the jewelry from the safe, the repair shop and the display cases. Around one hundred pieces of gold jewelry worth 150,000 euros were stolen. A real “looting” during which the two jewelers were threatened, one of them even had a gun pointed at his head by one of the thieves who threatened him, saying: “If you move we will smoke you”.

During their escape, the thieves were chased by the police, whom they managed to lose. They abandoned the Audi and allegedly hid the loot in the trunk of a tree. After swimming across a river, they stole a C15 van from a farmer in Sérignan.

Clothes, gloves and bottles from which DNA samples will be taken will be found in the Audi. Identified by the scientific police, Boubaka M'Hamed, who had gone to spend some time with his brother in the Paris region, ended up going to the police station. He admitted his involvement in the jewelry store robbery but denied stealing the Audi and threatened the farmer with a gun during the van robbery.

Nacer Zammit, after denying the facts, also ended up admitting his participation in the robbery. This man, who was then in semi-freedom, allegedly acted because of a gambling debt, so on the day of the events he left prison at 7 in the morning to go rob the jewelry store before returning to the center of police arrest. 01:40 hours, after a visit to the hospital because he was injured during the escape through fields and rivers.

As for Cédric Patano, he proclaims his innocence and assures that he avoids violence, even on television.

The trial begins at 2 p.m. I from Palma for the civil parties, Attorney General Persico in support of the prosecution. Me El Bouroumi and President Lemaire in defense. Verdict Friday.

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