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Auckland jewellery store heist: Getaway driver Marcieanne Nimot sentenced over $250,000 robbery

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A getaway driver found with jewellery stuffed in her bra, price tags still attached, in the immediate aftermath of a violent $250,000 smash-and-grab has been sentenced to home detention.

Papakura resident Marcieanne Nimot, 37, was by far the oldest of the five alleged offenders – the others all teens, two of whom were minors – during the November 2022 heist, which was caught on video.

Defence lawyer Steven Lack that despite Nimot’s age she was the least culpable of the group, having known that a theft was about to take place at Ellerslie Jewellers and Engravers, but not realising the damage and violence that was about to occur. Unlike the others, she is not alleged to have gone into the jewellery store or confronted bystanders.

But Judge Stephen O’Driscoll took a dim view of the lesser culpability claim as Nimot stood in an Auckland District Court dock for sentencing on Friday.

“You were in a position to exercise some control over the [other] offenders,” the judge pointed out. “You were much older than them.”

Nimot faced up to seven years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to a single charge of being a party to theft over $1000. Two teen co-defendants have pleaded guilty to theft, intentional damage and unlawfully being in a stolen vehicle. They have not yet been sentenced.

Court documents state the teens stole a Mazda Demio earlier that afternoon before parking across the street from the jewellery store and running inside with hammers. Nimot, meanwhile, was waiting for them in her own car about 700m away.

The masked teens began smashing display cases and shovelling jewellery into bags, authorities said. Two employees were in a back room, where they stayed out of fear after hearing the smashing glass and yelling.

But during the 40 seconds the bandits were in the store, a group of bystanders formed outside.

Two bystanders were injured when they tried to stop four teens accused of participating in a $250,000 jewellery store heist in Ellerslie in November 2022. Marcieanne Nimot, 37, has been sentenced for aiding the theft by serving as the driver of another getaway vehicle. Photo / Jason Knight
Two bystanders were injured when they tried to stop four teens accused of participating in a $250,000 jewellery store heist in Ellerslie in November 2022. Marcieanne Nimot, 37, has been sentenced for aiding the theft by serving as the driver of another getaway vehicle. Photo / Jason Knight

Video previously provided to the Herald shows the bystanders trying to disable the car used by the teens, with one man throwing a chair from a neighbouring cafe at the windscreen. As the defendants emerged from the business, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old both brandished hammers at the crowd while scrambling back into the stolen vehicle, authorities alleged.

“Members of the public gave chase and attempted to stop their getaway,” the agreed summary of facts for Nimot’s case states. “One bystander attempted to wrestle [the 18-year-old] out of the driver’s seat of the blue Mazda. [The teen] swung his hammer. [The female bystander] stepped back to avoid being hit, at which point [the teen] closed the door on [her] hand.”

The teen driver “accelerated hard” after all four had made it inside the vehicle.

“In the process, [he] ran over the foot of another bystander … and knocked her over as the car drove away,” court documents state. “As they fled, the car collided with a parked stationary vehicle.”

Two bystanders were injured when they tried to stop four teens accused of participating in a $250,000 jewellery store heist in Ellerslie in November 2022.  Photo / Jason Knight
Two bystanders were injured when they tried to stop four teens accused of participating in a $250,000 jewellery store heist in Ellerslie in November 2022. Photo / Jason Knight

The teens dumped the stolen car a short distance away and piled into Nimot’s car, but a resident saw the suspicious-looking vehicle transition and called police. Officers spotted her vehicle a short time later and blocked her in after she pulled down a long driveway. Nimot and two others were arrested inside the vehicle while two fled on foot, jumping fences before they were apprehended.

Multiple pieces of jewellery were found in Nimot’s vehicle and in her bra but some items were never recovered, including a ring valued at $198,000, according to police.

Crown prosecutor Sam Meyerhoff sought reparation of $1000, to be split among the three adult defendants. The amount, which covers the business’s insurance excess, is more realistic in terms of the defendants’ ability to pay than the full loss amount, he said.

The prosecution and the defence agreed a non-custodial sentence was a likely outcome when considering Nimot’s lesser participation, her guilty plea, the fact she has never been sentenced to prison and her role as a mother of young children.

“I accept you did not enter the store yourself … or put others at risk,” the judge responded, adding that he disagreed with lawyers’ submissions she was less responsible. He gave the example of a person who gives a gun or bullets to an assassin.

But Judge O’Driscoll conceded she wasn’t being sentenced for a more serious charge of aggravated robbery and that the facts of the case agreed to by the Crown and the defence clearly stated she was unaware of the potential for violence that day.

“I must therefore deal with you on the basis of the material placed before me,” he said, adding that an inability to foresee damage or violence that day would have been in the best possible light “naive”.

He described a pre-sentencing report recommendation that she receive a sentence of intensive supervision as “totally inappropriate” but conceded that under the circumstances home detention was the necessary outcome. He ordered eight months with an ankle monitor followed by six months of post-detention conditions.

“I hope that in the future you will be able to exercise control over young people and advise them to take the right steps rather than participate in criminal offending,” he said, adding a warning as the hearing came to a close: “If you get involved in anything like this again … you can expect that a significant sentence of imprisonment will be imposed.”

Store owner John Rennell told the Herald at the time of the theft that his daughter had been in the store when it was pilfered and that the timing of the attack couldn’t have been worse.

“We work all year to stockpile jewellery for the Christmas period, it is so disappointing to see it disappear in front of your eyes,” he said.

David Seymour standing outside the Ellerslie Jewellers and Engravers after it was robbed  with owner John. Photo / Supplied
David Seymour standing outside the Ellerslie Jewellers and Engravers after it was robbed with owner John. Photo / Supplied

Recently, he said, he had tried to qualify for smoke cannons and added security precautions through the Small Retailer Crime Prevention Fund. Two officers had visited the store as part of the process weeks earlier and told him his security was “up to scratch”, he said.

The high-profile crime elicited the attention of Act leader David Seymour, who had lobbied then Police Minister Chris Hipkins on behalf of the business’ security request months before the incident involving Nimot.

“As a local MP I am spending more and more time visiting business owners who have been devastated by these attacks,” said Seymour, who posed for a photo with the store’s owner while crime scene tape from the heist was still in place. “We can’t leave them sitting and waiting in fear that they might be next.”

Craig Kapitan is an Auckland-based journalist covering courts and justice. He joined the Herald in 2021 and has reported on courts since 2002 in three newsrooms in the US and New Zealand.



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