FOLLOWING THE AUDACIOUS theft of an estimated €103 million worth of diamonds from the Carlton Hotel in Cannes last Sunday, we thought it might be time to look at some of the world’s biggest jewellery robberies.
Here are the biggests heists over the last decade, in order of size…
- February 15-16, 2003: The largest ever haul of jewels, valued at 100 million euros, took place in Belgium in 2003. More than 120 of 160 safety deposit boxes were emptied inside the heavily fortified “Diamond Center” at the heart of Antwerp’s diamond district. The building’s alarm systems failed to go off.
- December 4, 2008: Three men emptied 85 million euros worth of gems from the Harry Winston jewellery store on Paris’s Avenue Montaigne, amounting to almost the entire stock of the shop. In 2009, police said they had recovered 80 percent of the total.
- February 25, 2005: A KLM cargo truck was intercepted at Amsterdam-Schipol airport in the Netherlands and 75 million euros worth of jewels and diamonds bound for Antwerp were taken.
- August 6, 2009: Theft of more than 40 million pounds (48 million euros) worth of jewellery from the Graff Diamonds store in central London.
- February 18, 2013: Men disguised as police officers conduct a spectacular heist on the tarmac at Brussels airport in Belgium, making off with 50 million dollars (38 million euros) worth of diamonds.
- March 5, 2004: Three Serbians, members of the “Pink Panther” ring of international jewel thieves, steal almost 22 million euros worth of jewels in Japan.
- March 5, 2007: Diamonds with a value of 21 million euros are stolen from a bank in Antwerp, Belgium.
The French Cote d’Azur, which attracts the global jetset to its beaches and annual Cannes film festival, has long been the target of jewellery thieves. Here are some of the biggest thefts in its recent history.
- July 13, 2009: Three men seize 15 million euros worth of jewels in an armed robbery at a branch of Cartier in Cannes.
- May 28, 2010: Armed robbers walk off with seven million euros in gems after taking a jewel wholesaler and his family hostage in a town near Marseille.
- September 20, 2002: Two armed men grab three million euros worth of gems from a jeweller on the Croisette promenade in Cannes.
- May 23, 2013: Thieves steal a de Grisogono necklace worth two million euros from a celebrity party during the Cannes festival. A few days earlier, a million euros worth of gems belonging to Swiss jeweller Chopard were taken from the safe of a hotel bedroom of an American employee.
- August 30, 2005: International criminal gang the Pink Panthers steal watches and jewels worth two million euros from jeweller Julian in Saint-Tropez.
- © AFP 2013.