Belgium blasted by daring diamond heist
Antwerp, the capital of the world’s gem trade, was in shock Wednesday as Belgian police struggled to unravel what appears to have been the biggest diamond heist ever.
Thieves over the weekend emptied more than 100 vaults from a heavily guarded Antwerp trading centre bristling with sophisticated technology, getting away with diamonds worth millions of euros.
The robbery was the northern port city’s biggest since two Israelis and a Brazilian in 1994 lifted diamonds worth 4.55 million dollars. The trio have appealed against their conviction.
Police are still working out how much the stolen diamonds were worth. But the total will reach “several million euros” and will easily surpass the amount taken in 1994, one prosecutor said.
Police are baffled as to how the thieves behind the weekend heist, which was discovered by a caretaker on Monday morning, made off with diamonds from 123 of the 160 basement vaults in the Antwerp Diamond Centre.
The Flemish-language newspaper De Standaard was clear where the finger of blame should point. Security cameras were tampered with, the burglars knew the entry code for the strongroom and sensors on each vault failed to work, the paper said. —AFP