Rob­ber in gun-shoot­ing jewelry heist gets seven years

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - CARMELA FRAGOMENI

A Stoney Creek man’s at­tempt to rob an East­gate Square jewelry store with an ac­com­plice who shot at the owner has re­sulted in a sev­enyear pen­i­ten­tiary sen­tence.

Jonathan Mil­janovic, 30, was sen­tenced Fri­day for his part in the rob­bery at Fine Touch Jewellers on Jan. 15, 2015 . He pleaded guilty Thurs­day to rob­bery and dis­guis­ing him­self while com­mit­ting a crime.

Mil­janovic also pleaded guilty to un­re­lated charges in 2013 and 2014 of pos­ses­sion of co­caine for the pur­pose of traf­fick­ing and il­le­gally pos­sess­ing Oxy­Con­tin and a pro­hib­ited weapon (brass knuck­les).

Court heard in an agreed state­ment of facts that Mil­janovic and an­other man en­tered Fine Touch be­side the Sears store just af­ter 8:30 p.m. and con­fronted one of the own­ers’ wives who was work­ing alone in the store’s pub­lic area.

Both men wore bal­a­clavas. Mil­janovic had a gym bag with a ham­mer inside and his ac­com­plice was armed with a loaded re­volver he had been hid­den un­der his coat.

Mil­janovic jumped over a store counter and be­gan smash­ing and emp­ty­ing the glass jewelry dis­play cab­i­nets. The other man pulled out his gun, pointed it in the woman’s di­rec­tion and be­gan yelling de­mands.

Store own­ers and broth­ers Ra­hat Man­zoor and Sa­jid Ali and friend Babur Mum­taz, in the back of the store, re­sponded to Man­zoor’s wife’s screams and rushed out to con­front the rob­bers.

Ali and Mum­taz grabbed Mil­janovic while the ac­com­plice shot “mul­ti­ple times” — ini­tially at the ceil­ing but then within a few feet of Ali and Mum­taz, nar­rowly miss­ing them be­fore flee­ing.

Mil­janovic was hit re­peat­edly by Man­zoor and then Ali with the ham­mer to keep him from strug­gling free. Po­lice later led Mil­janovic off in hand­cuffs to the hospi­tal to be treated for in­juries.

His lawyer, Dean Pa­que­tte, said be­fore sen­tenc­ing that Mil­janovic started sell­ing drugs to make money af­ter los­ing his job as an ap­pren­tice me­chanic and be­ing un­able to find an­other po­si­tion.

In 2011, Mil­janovic also be­came a drug user and ac­cu­mu­lated debt to feed his ad­dic­tion.

“He owed a lot of money to the wrong peo­ple,” Pa­que­tte said, later adding it was about $10,000.

Mil­janovic had quit us­ing drugs six months be­fore the rob­bery, which was meant to cover his debt, Pa­que­tte said.

Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Robert Reid noted Mil­janovic had pleaded guilty, stated his re­morse in court, apol­o­gized to his vic­tims, and had the sup­port of his par­ents and girl­friend in the court­room.

How­ever, the crime was a very se­ri­ous of­fence and “ex­tremely trau­matic” for the store own­ers and es­pe­cially the woman in­volved, he said.

“Clearly, the scene was volatile. The po­ten­tial for in­jury or death was not remote.”

Reid gave Mil­janovic seven years — five for the rob­bery and dis­guise, and two more for the co­caine traf­fick­ing and Oxy­Con­tin and brass knuck­les pos­ses­sion.

Vic­tim Sa­jid Ali, who owns Fine Touch with his two broth­ers, was in court for the sen­tenc­ing and later ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion with the re­sult.

“I’m ex­tremely thank­ful to the Cana­dian jus­tice sys­tem,” said the Pak­istani na­tive who is now a Cana­dian cit­i­zen. “Ev­ery ef­fort is be­ing made to give the devil his due … Of course, the emo­tional loss and the men­tal tor­ture the whole fam­ily went through can­not be re­cov­ered.”

Most dis­turb­ing, he added, is that peo­ple feel less se­cure and some his el­derly cus­tomers won’t go to his part of the mall be­cause it re­minds them of “that scary in­ci­dent — a shoot­ing so vi­o­lent, in a pub­lic mall where kids, ladies and el­derly peo­ple come to spend some time for shop­ping and other entertainment.”

Ali said it has taken months for his sis­ter-in-law, who no longer works in the store, to “nor­mal­ize” af­ter the trauma.

Ni­cholas Mi­ha­jlovic, 25, the other man charged in the rob­bery, is ex­pected to go to trial in March.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.