Just hours ago we report how burglar ransacked Simon Cowell’s home and took away £500k worth of items, but dramatic intervention by security guard has made it possible to wrestled back £500,000 worth of Simon Cowell’s gems from the hands of the thief who raided the X Factor boss’s mansion.
M’Bathonha Mendes leapt into action after finding the music mogul’s passport on the pavement and seeing a shadowy figure run off into the night. The 34-year-old drove after the burglar and snatched back Cowell’s possessions stashed in a rucksack.
M’Bathonha said “The adrenaline just kicked in. He was trying to get something out of the bag and I ran up to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said, ‘wait a second’. “He jumped and then dropped the bag and ran. Fear is my friend.”
His dramatic intervention emerged as suspicions rose last night that the raid in the early hours of Friday may have been one of a spate by the same cat burglar – with eight houses in the posh Holland Park area of West London hit in the past three weeks.
In one incident at another home, an intruder was found loitering outside a young girl’s bedroom. The thief in the Cowell raid is believed to have spent half an hour in the property while the star slept upstairs with his partner Lauren Silverman and young son Eric.
Cowell’s personal guard was oblivious to the break in because he’d been in a toilet when the thief fled. Luckily M’Bathonha who works for a private security firm in the same street spotted the crook escaping as he sat in his car.
The Portuguese-born guard said: “It was around 1.50am and I was between patrols. I saw this guy walking at the end of the street with a big bag under his arm. “He had a woolly hat almost covering his face and looked really suspicious. It also clicked with me he matched the description of a burglar who had robbed a house on the same street a few weeks before. “I noticed that as he was walking something dropped behind him. I got out of the car and picked it up. It was a passport with Simon Cowell’s picture. “I was completely shocked. I jumped in my car and drove after him. I knew whatever was in that bag was valuable. After I grabbed it off him, I called the police, then my supervisor. I went to Mr Cowell’s house and waited there.” When he returned to Cowell’s mansion, he found the lights on and the front door wide open. He said: “I met security and asked if he noticed anything out of the ordinary. He said he’d been to the toilet. “I told him what had happened. He was shocked and hadn’t a clue the house had been burgled.” M’Bathonha, who works for Security Consultancy Services, said the bag “felt like there was a lot of jewellery in it”. He added: “We found empty jewellery boxes in the bushes across from Simon’s house. “I haven’t spoken to Simon but he has phoned my boss Trevor and wants to meet me. I am really glad he thought I did a good job. My daughter Sara is a huge X Factor fan and can’t believe I saved some of Simon Cowell’s stuff.”
Later, a security source confirmed the contents of the bag were worth £500,000. Cowell yesterday spoke outside his £25million mansion. He promised there would be a big Christmas present headed the guard’s way.
The X Factor chief said the incident had been “nerve-racking” for his family. He said: “The frightening thing is the idea that there’s someone in your house. It’s not what they steal. It’s the fact they’re in your house.”