Police ‘very concerned’ as journalist claims Venezuelan agents raided Primrose Hill home
PUBLISHED: 00:13 09 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:59 09 April 2015
An investigative journalist has claimed Venezuelan government agents may have been behind a burglary at his Primrose Hill home and threats issued against his children.
Alek Boyd, who moved to the UK from Venezuela 15 years ago and has been a staunch critic of former President Hugo Chavez, came back from taking his child to school to find his flat door forced open and two laptops missing.
Other valuables, such as his phone, wallet and cash, were left alone, he says.
After calling the police, Mr Boyd says officers soon discovered a coat belonging to one of the robbers was left inside the Primrose Hill flat. A mobile phone, inside one of the coat’s pockets, was found to have texts in Spanish saying [translated] “I am in the lift” and “call me when you’re ready”.
Days later, Mr Boyd was also shocked to find pictures of his children, “taken from a distance”, had been placed in his jacket pocket. He says he has also since received mail with pictures of his children inside, alongside threats of violence.
The burglary, on November 17, has led to the journalist fearing he is being actively targeted by those in Venezuela he says he is trying to expose.
Well-known in the South American country, he has been a staunch critic of the Venezuelan government and former President Hugo Chavez, focusing much of his work on corruption in government and business circles.
He described those likely to have broken in to his home as Venezuelan government agents, henchmen “sent by Chavismo” (supporters of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his politics), or “boligarch associates” (a new breed of Venezuelan business magnates).
Last month, police issued a CCTV appeal releasing images of three men they wish to speak in connection with the incident.
Officers said the men tried buzzing several times for entry into the secure block of flats on the morning of the burglary. Although they were denied access, they were later caught on camera in the building.
Believing the break-in was to intimidate or gain information on his sources, Mr Boyd told the Ham&High: “I was running back after dropping my child off at school when they broke in.
“I came back to the flat to see the front door lock had been forced.
“After looking at the CCTV later I could actually see they had been waiting for us to leave.
“This is definitely more than just a robbery.
“They’ve left many of my valuables alone and took just my laptops. The information on there is very sensitive and could endanger some people’s lives in Venezuela, which I am very concerned about.
“And I take the photos of my children left in my jacket as a direct threat, intended to intimidate me.
“Clearly my family has been followed by these people. I’ve also received intimidating mail.
“I have got to interpret their boldness as if they purposefully wanted to send a strong message: ‘We came to your flat, we broke into it in broad daylight, and we can’t care less about being caught by video cameras or be seen.’
“I’m here in the UK because I wanted to get away from this kind of criminality. I was not expecting this kind of thing to happen to us in London.
“The police said they were very concerned about what had happened, given my job and what I do.
“I’m determined these people are found and prosecuted. In Venezuela, these kinds of thugs are used to literally getting away with murder.”
Police say investigations are ongoing into the case but have yet to comment on any suspected motive.
Descriptions and CCTV images of three individuals who police wish to speak to have been released.
The first is described as of middle eastern appearance, aged about 40, and of medium build. He was wearing a light brown jacket, over a white shirt, a blue and grey scarf and a grey coloured flat cap.
The second is described as of Mediterranean appearance, aged about 25 years old and of slim build. He was wearing a red, shiny, quilted tight-fitting jacket with the hood up and a white logo on the chest and on the crown of the hood. He was also wearing black lycra jogging bottoms.
The third is described as white, aged between 40 and 50, with a goatee beard and of medium build. He was wearing a grey hooded coat with a grey hat underneath the hood and a grey scarf.
If you can identify the men pictured or know of their whereabouts please Det Con Stephanie Barron of Camden CID on 101.