An organized group of armed robbers have pulled off a $50 million (€37m) diamond theft from a plane stationed at Brussels Airport.The 8 men have been described as a professional gang, bringing in hoods, masks and automatic weapons complete with laser sight. According to The Telegraph, they were in and out in just three minutes.
They made their getaway in an Audi fashioned to resemble a police vehicle, after using a Mercedes van to get through a fence. Nobody has been injured during the armed theft.
"It is clear that the perpetrators have acted highly professionally. [...] This only lasted a few minutes and then they immediately left the airport through the damaged fence," an airport spokesman describes.
After fleeing in both vehicles, they torched the Mercedes, which was later recovered in a suburban area.
The gang entered the plane on Monday, February 18, at approximately 7.50 p.m. Their intended target was a truck belonging to Brink's diamond and jewelry services. The shipment was scheduled to depart for Zurich on a Helvetic airlines flight at 8.05 p.m.
As the robbers had detailed information about the flights and the top secret cargo info, investigators suspect that they had help from an insider.
"You never know where precious things are in a cargo. And the perpetrators knew very clearly," a source told local reporters.
The thieves got away with uncut diamonds, possibly originating from Antwerp. Expert Caroline Wolf, speaking for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, warns about the diamonds being easy to steal, as they cannot be traced.
"This is mainly rough diamonds from Antwerp. They are not cut and so there is certainly no certificate. They can just be sold and will be soon be gone," Wolf assesses.
"It would be at about $50 million (€37m) in diamonds. [...] It is a huge amount. What concerns us is that a car could so easily access the airport tarmac," Wolf adds, pointing out security issues at the airport.