Tuesday 25 October 2016

Robbery joins list of major jewel thefts

Published 04/10/2016 | 02:30

CCTV shows suspects entering London’s Graff Diamond Store. REUTERS/Metropolitan Police/Handout
CCTV shows suspects entering London’s Graff Diamond Store. REUTERS/Metropolitan Police/Handout

Kim Kardashian West has joined a line of victims of major jewel heists. Some spectacular jewel thefts in recent memory include:

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Offscreen drama

In 2013, thieves stole Chopard jewellery from a hotel room safe during the Cannes Film Festival, a crime that drew parallels to Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring', which was screening that year.

Two months later, a lone gunman pulled off one of the biggest jewellery heists of all time, stealing $136m worth of diamond jewellery from Cannes' Carlton Hotel - a location for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 'To Catch a Thief'. In 2015, raiders - one wearing an old-man mask - walked into the Cartier boutique on Cannes' Croisette seaside promenade in the middle of the morning, and walked out with millions of dollars' worth of jewellery and watches.

Airport heists

In a carefully planned 2013 theft, thieves cut through a fence at the Brussels airport, drove to a Switzerland-bound plane and snatched an estimated $50m in diamonds.

In 2005, thieves threatened guards and hijacked an armoured car from Dutch carrier KLM's cargo ramp at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, a major European transport hub, making off with millions in diamonds and jewellery. Subsequent media reports put the value of the loot at up to $100m.

Cross-dressing Crooks

In 2009, two elegantly dressed men robbed the Graff Diamond Store in London's high-end Mayfair district and carried away necklaces, watches, rings and bracelets worth more than £40m, according to Scotland Yard.

While Christmas shoppers strolled outside the posh Harry Winston jewellery shop near Paris' famed Champs-Elysees in 2008, armed thieves - some dressed as women and wearing wigs - entered the store and stole gems and watches worth up to $85m.

The big score

Robbers taped over security cameras, disabled the alarm system and broke into the high-security underground vaults of the Diamond Centre in Antwerp, Belgium, the world capital of diamond-cutting, getting away with an estimated $100m in goods in 2003.

After prying open 123 of the 160 vaults, the thieves stood ankle-deep in a pile of diamonds, gold, jewellery, stocks, bonds, cash and lockboxes, police said.

The loot was so abundant, they had to leave a lot behind.

Irish Independent

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