Vin Diesel lookalike helps foil burka raid on Selfridges
Gang disguised as rich Arab women grabs jewellery and watches, but Egyptian action hero intervenes
AN Egyptian law student, who bears a "striking resemblance" to Hollywood action star Vin Diesel, helped foil a raid on Selfridges department store by a male gang disguised as rich Arab women.
The four-member gang allegedly entered the up-market Selfridges store on Oxford Street yesterday evening wearing burkas and carrying designer handbags, the London Evening Standard reports. After mingling with hundreds of shoppers, they discarded the handbags and used axes and sledgehammers hidden beneath their robes to smash glass cabinets containing watches and jewellery.
Terrified shoppers fled the store as cabinets splintered and the thieves stuffed goods worth thousands of pounds into bags.
"There was a lot of screaming and shouting; it [the store] emptied like a bomb had gone off," said 26-year-old Bevan Adams who witnessed the raid. "People were really wailing and screaming."
Two of the alleged robbers tried to get away on a moped, but crashed just yards from Selfridges after trying to make a tight turn. The impact left designer watches strewn across the street and more high-end timepieces could be seen inside a duffel bag dropped by the men.
One of the alleged robbers is believed to have broken his leg and was taken to hospital, the other, who was wearing a motorcycle helmet, tried to escape on foot.
The uninjured suspect didn't get far. "All of a sudden this guy who looks like Vin Diesel pinned the guy in the bike helmet to the ground," said 28-year-old witness Matthew Carrozo. "He struggled but people started pouncing on this guy."
The Vin Diesel lookalike is Mohamed Hussein, 29, an Egyptian law student who works part time at a local pizza restaurant. Hussein – who claims he recognised one of the suspects as a man who allegedly stole a mobile phone from Hussein's friend several days earlier - pinned the suspect to the ground for ten minutes until police arrived and took him into custody.
"I wasn't worried," Hussein told The Times. "I used to do boxing."