Robbers' daring diamond heist

Last updated 06:51 20/02/2013
Reuters

Armed robbers seize diamonds while the gems were being loaded onto a plane at Brussels Airport. Sarah Sheffer reports.

Relevant offers

World

Australian mother charged after toddler finds and eats ice stash, calls in sick for court From Instagram to 95,000 grams - Australia's biggest cruise ship drug bust Innocent black man punched, tasered and arrested by police. Jury award him $25 Brazil's Senate removes President Dilma Rousseff from office Mother of three survives car crash - only to be gunned down by the other driver Mexico wonders why its president is meeting with Donald Trump 10 years on, HPV vaccine halves cervical cancer rates Aboriginal mum highlights 'hypocrisy' over Nic Nat blackface controversy Outgoing National MP Maurice Williamson picks up plum LA diplomatic posting How four Batman movie massacre survivors ended up owing US theatre almost a million dollars

Robbers dressed as police and armed with machineguns have stolen 120 parcels of diamonds worth millions of dollars from the runway of Brussels Airport in one of the biggest heists the industry has seen.

Two vehicles carrying eight men drove up to a van belonging to security firm Brinks, which had just finished loading the diamonds into a Swiss passenger plane, on Monday evening (Tuesday, NZT), officials said.
 
The men, who were masked but also wore police uniforms, did not fire a single shot and the entire heist took less than five minutes, said Ine Van Wymersch, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor's office.

They escaped and are now being hunted by police.

"They were well prepared," Van Wymersch said. "There were passengers on the plane but they saw nothing of what was going on.

Prosecutors said they could not yet comment on how much the diamonds taken were worth or to whom they belonged.

Belgian state broadcaster VRT reported the total value was 350 million euros (NZ$552.5m). A spokeswoman for the Antwerp Diamond Centre said the value may be closer to US$50 million (NZ$59m).

"In any case it's one of the biggest robberies we've seen," she said.

Antwerp has been a leading diamond centre for centuries, with some eight in every 10 rough diamonds, and five in every 10 polished diamonds, passing through it.

Both vehicles sped off after the robbery and one was later found burnt just outside of Brussels.

The robbers managed to get onto the tarmac after breaking through the fence that surrounds the airport, an airport spokesman said.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content