Robber in gun-shooting jewelry heist gets seven years
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.