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Bungling robbers viciously attack club boss

PUBLISHED: 14:10 09 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland CROOKS posing as workmen targeted the boss of an infamous Kentish Town club in a frightening daylight robbery. Julian Molteno, who runs Sunday afternoon event The Church at The Forum, was temporarily blinded when robbers sprayed CS gas in

Ben McPartland

CROOKS posing as workmen targeted the boss of an infamous Kentish Town club in a frightening daylight robbery.

Julian Molteno, who runs Sunday afternoon event The Church at The Forum, was temporarily blinded when robbers sprayed CS gas in his face.

Around 5.30pm, three men dressed in fluorescent jackets used roadwork barriers to block Mr Molteno's van as he travelled up Leighton Road with the day's takings, believed to be around £15,000.

He wound down his driver's window and pulled up to enquire what the delay was, when he was sprayed in the face, leaving him writhing in agony.

At the same time, the passenger window was smashed and a bag snatched, believed to contain the loot.

But the vicious robbers were thwarted, getting away with only a bag of two-way radios used for security at The Church rather than the cash.

Mr Molteno, 41, said: "I stopped the van and one of the men walked towards the passenger side. I thought he wanted to have a chat, to say 'wait five minutes' or whatever.

"Then on the driver's side, suddenly I was sprayed in the face with the gas. The main thing was I didn't know what was happening at all. I was completely shocked. I didn't see him walking up to me or anything.

"He sprayed it directly into my eyes. It really stops you in your tracks.

"Obviously, my mind was reacting to what the hell is going on. Then I heard this loud pop and then something fall on my lap which was the window being smashed out.

"I did manage to see the guy lean in the window and grab the bag, and then they were gone."

CS gas is mainly used by police to temporarily incapacitate or subdue attackers or those posing a threat.

The chemicals react with the skin and the eyes, causing a burning sensation. The victim has no choice but to close their eyes.

After the frightening ordeal on Sunday afternoon, Mr Molteno was given treatment at the scene by an ambulance crew.

He said: "I am lucky I was not seriously hurt. If I had grabbed the bag and stopped him from taking it, the next thing to get hit would have been me.

"I was lucky to get away. It was really traumatic."

Witnesses have reported that the same men were seen hanging around outside the Forum the week before.

He has now altered his security arrangements at the venue which see hundreds of revellers, mainly from Antipodean countries, descend on the Forum each Sunday afternoon for festivities.

"This was not a random thing," the owner added.

"They knew who we were and they thought we had some money in the van.

"I think they will have been disappointed. But in the future no money will be coming with us in the van."

Police are now appealing for information. The first suspect is a white man, aged around 30 and 5ft 7ins tall. He wore a high-visibility jacket over a dark jacket and dark jogging bottoms.

The second suspect is a black man aged around 39, 6ft 2ins tall and was wearing a high-visibility jacket and a blue beanie hat.

A third suspect is described as a white man aged 35 to 40, 5ft 7ins tall and wearing a T-shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes.

Anyone with information is urged to call Camden Police on 020-7404 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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