Millions in Stolen Diamonds Takeoff from Brussels Airport
- By Ginger Hill
- Feb 20, 2013
As Brinks security guards completed the transfer of cut and uncut diamonds from their armored vehicle onto a Helvetic Airways jet on the Brussels Airport tarmac, passengers onboard were settling in, preparing for takeoff to Switzerland while the crew was going through the last of their safety checks. Suddenly, two vehicles, one a Mercedes van, both resembling police vehicles, sped up beside the plane with blue lights flashing.
A total of eight, gun-armed men, clad in police uniforms, faces covered with balaclavas, jumped out of the vehicles. The men forced the door of the plane open, removing about 120 packages. They loaded them into the Mercedes van and sped away through a hole in the security fence.
Anja Bijnes, a prosecuting official, said, “It was mostly diamonds. As far as we know, there was no gold.”
Fortunately, during this quick five minutes, no guns were fired; no injuries occurred; and according to Ine Van Wymersch of the Brussels prosecutor’s office, “the passengers saw nothing.”
The World Diamond Center (WDC) in Antwerp, Belgium represents the city’s jewel traders, and the organization estimated that the value of the stolen diamonds was at least $50 million.
Caroline de Wolf, WDC spokeswoman, refused to mention who owned the stolen diamonds, but she did say, “These were raw and cut diamonds from Antwerp, heading for Zurich and Switzerland. This is causing quite some unrest. It was incredible how easy it all went.”
Jan Van Der Cruysse, an airport spokesman, believed the thieves had cut the hole into the perimeter fence, but he was unable to explain why and how the area was so vulnerable.
“We abide by the most stringent [security] rules and meet all the requirements,” said Van Der Cryusse.
Infographic provided by theguardian, a UK news source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/19/diamond-robbery-brussels-airport-plane
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.