Damir Pejcinovic sentenced to 8 years in prison for international jewelry theft
The renowned leader of an international jewelry burglary ring that has brought in more than $ 13 million in “sophisticated” capers from Manhattan to Europe over more than a decade was sentenced to eight years in prison on Thursday.
Damir “Damian” Pejcinovic, who grew up in the Bronx but lived in a multi-million dollar townhouse in the Tony West Village before his bust in 2018, was convicted by conference call by the Manhattan federal court judge, Victor Marrero.
During the hearing, prosecutors described Pejcinovic as a serial thief who led a team of calculated burglars who locked up jewelry stores and broke into safes with power tools and hammers during their round of robberies. flights from 2006 to 2017.
“For years, this team of burglars have carried out robbery after robbery without getting caught,” Assistant US Attorney Andrew Chan said at the hearing.
He then appointed Pejcinovic as the ring leader, urging the judge to impose a harsher sentence than those of his co-defendants.
“It was the defendant who decided where, when and how each burglary was going to happen,” Chan said.
He added that Pejcinovic often waited in his car while his cohorts took off work and did the âdirty workâ of breaking into safes, disarming alarms and slipping in jewelry, gold and property.
Work carried out by the crew includes a $ 3 million Manhattan New Years Eve jewelry heist and another July 26, 2009 heist at a separate Big Apple jewelry store that earned thieves some $ 850,000. of goods, prosecutors said.
They also stole $ 70,000 in jewelry from a Beverly Hills store on August 28, 2010 and $ 1 million from a Kansas City store on September 5, 2010, according to the indictment against the crew.
At the time of his arrest, Pejcinovic had a plan of a jewelry store in his multi-million dollar townhouse and was researching on his laptop stores around the world, Chan added.
Pejcinovic’s attorney, Peter Quijano, downplayed the crew’s sophistication, calling them a bunch of thieves who managed to âcrush and grabâ their targets.
âNone of these heists were sophisticated. They were nothing more than crush and seizure burglaries, âQuijano said.
He added that Pejcinovic had a business plan to develop a device that would renovate safes and disabled security systems, but that a device was never developed and was never used in any of the heists. . Instead, the crew used rough tools like hammers and power tools, Quijano said.
âIt never existed. It only existed in Damir’s mind, âQuijano said.
He also downplayed Pejcinovic’s role in the crew, saying he was primarily responsible for casing targets and acting as the escape driver – and wondered if the sum of the goods they had stolen actually exceeded $ 13 million.
âThe loss figures are reported by the jewelry stores themselves. The loss that jewelry stores would claim for insurance purposes, âhe said.
Pejcinovic spoke briefly during the sentencing, launching into a defense of the device he wanted to develop before his lawyer interrupted him and spoke to him in private. When they joined the meeting, he said he had nothing more to say.
In passing the eight-year sentence, Judge Marrero said he took into account the gravity of the offense, the duration of the crimes and the sophistication used in the heists.
Pejcinovic has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center since his arrest in 2018. It is not known where he will serve his federal prison sentence.