Police seize ‘drug cash’ from shoplifting suspect who died fleeing store

Ipswich Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Police have successfully applied to the courts to keep thousands of pounds seized from a suspected shoplifter who died of a heart attack while attempting to run away from a supermarket.

Rytis Dumbliauskas, of no fixed abode, collapsed outside Tesco Express, in Fordham Road, Newmarket, on April 26.

Earlier this month, assistant coroner Kevin McCarthy ruled the 21-year-old’s death was “drug related” and had been caused by sudden cardiac arrest in exertion.

An inquest found Mr Dumbliauskas suffered with cervical lymphadenopathy, a condition affecting nerves in the neck, which could have contributed to his collapse.

A postmortem revealed he had taken cocaine and cannabis prior to his death, which happened as he ran from the supermarket, suspected of shoplifting.

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This week, police applied for the forfeiture of £3,731 seized from Mr Dumbliauskas as part of an alleged drug offence investigation.

Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard that written contact had been made with his mother, in Dublin, last month – but that she, as beneficiary to her son’s possessions, had not responded to notification of her entitlement to claim against the forfeiture.

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Magistrates granted the application under section 298 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 after hearing that police found cash and drugs on three occasions following Mr Dumbliauskas’ arrest at a Stowmarket property.

Malcolm Ewles, Eastern Region Special Operations Unit financial investigation manager, said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act is a very powerful tool, which gives us the opportunity to target and tackle criminals, and make them pay for their crimes.

“In this particular case, the offender is sadly deceased. However, the Proceeds of Crime Act allows us to continue our financial investigation and proceed to cash forfeiture if, on the balance of probabilities, the property is found to be recoverable property or was intended for use in unlawful conduct.

“This case should serve as a warning that crime does not pay and that we will pursue all offenders, not only through prosecution, but then by the confiscation or forfeiture of assets gained through criminality.

“We are committed to tackling criminals and ensuring that any criminal benefits and assets are taken from them.”

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