It was like something out of a Hollywood movie; armed robbers disguised as policeman with split-second timing broke through a security barrier and stole more than $50 million in precious diamonds from a plane in the Brussels airport within minutes of takeoff. Fans of “The Italian Job”, or the fictional inspector Jacques Clueso would have been entertained, but no one in the Brussels airport or Antwerp, the source of the diamonds, is smiling. In one positive note, the thieves managed their entire heist without firing a shot; no officers were killed or injured.
Just before the 8:05 p.m. scheduled takeoff of flight LX789, diamonds were loaded onto the plane for transport to Zurich, Switzerland. Meanwhile, the daring thieves entered the airport through a perimeter fence and rushed straight to the plane. Dressed as police officers and driving cars equipped with police sirens, they approached the pilot and crew during final pre-flight checks. The thieves calmly and methodically ordered them out of the way and set to unloading the millions of dollars of diamonds that had just been loaded onto the plane.
After completing their robbery, the crew of armed thieves sped off into the night. Police later discovered an abandoned vehicle that had been set on fire. However, the burning question is actually how the thieves got their information. There is a tiny window of time between the diamonds being loaded and the plane taking off. That these thieves knew both when and what was being loaded onto the plane implies some inside knowledge. In fact, the police are pursuing this avenue of investigation.
The heist went off without incident, but not without accident. The thieves did leave some packets of diamond behind. However, given their $50 million haul, they’re likely not very worried about what they didn’t get.
Brad P for Raymond Lee Jewelers, premiere fine jewelry and luxury watch boutique and buyer.