Teen thief is revealed as synagogue burglar

By Marcus Dysch, January 23, 2014

Two Jewish brothers have been jailed for their roles in a bungled attempt to steal a safe from a friend’s home.

Ronen and Yacov Izraelov were part of a gang of masked intruders who took the safe from a property in Finchley, north London.

The brothers’ relationship can be revealed for the first time after the JC successfully applied to the judge for restrictions to be lifted on the identification of the younger Izraelov.

Ronen, 21, was jailed for two years and nine months. Yacov, 18, was sent to Feltham Young Offenders’ Institute for two years.

It can also now be reported that Yacov Izraelov was one of three gang members who broke into a Golders Green synagogue, and stole a congregant’s car 18 months ago.

On that occasion, he admitted burglary and theft and was ordered to undergo a rehabilitation order.

Jailing the brothers last Friday, Judge James Patrick said Ronen had been the ringleader. Yacov had claimed he was “tied and beaten” and attempted to portray himself as a victim of the crime.

Working with two accomplices, the Izraelovs, of Broughton Avenue, Finchley, conspired to take the safe and its contents from the home of Benzion Nassim while he was away on holiday in November 2012.

Despite using a getaway car, the pair were unable to move the unit far and were arrested after they were seen dumping it in the early hours of the morning.

Wood Green Crown Court heard the safe had contained cash, passports, necklaces, and bullets. The items were returned to Mr Nassim, who initially refused to give evidence at the trial.

Judge Patrick said: “The offence was carefully planned. The premises were targeted at night. A gang was involved — they were masked and disguised. There would have been a very high level of profit had the offence been completed.”

He said he had “grappled with the extent that it was an inside job”. Mr Nassim’s son, Joshua, was a friend of Yacov Izraelov but left Britain and joined the Israeli army following the incident. He did not give evidence during the trial.

Judge Patrick said he had concluded that, although Joshua Nassim had “very deliberately absented himself”, he did not believe the youngster had been involved in the plot to take the safe.

But the judge also told the court that rabbis had attempted to discourage Benzion Nassim from giving evidence against the brothers.

Defending Ronen Izraelov, Jacqueline Vallejo said her client was a “disengaged young man who left school quite early. He has lost his way”.

She said the brothers came from a “close-knit family” and that, despite having a cannabis problem, Ronen had tried to move on with his life since the theft. He had been working as a decorator for a family friend while awaiting trial.

Emma Akuwudike, defending Yacov, said he was a “young man with considerable promise” and was “back on track” after years as a teenage rebel. In the 14 months since the theft he had been studying at college and had “closed that [criminal] chapter of his life”.

Orcan and Soner Kubilay, also brothers, were each jailed for two years and three months on the same charge of conspiracy to steal.

Ms Akuwudike said Yacov planned to appeal against his conviction.

Last updated: 9:45am, January 24 2014