Diamond is precious and beautiful jewellery, and hence it has been sought by thieves and treasure hunters alike for thousands of years. There are many diamonds, that could be worth millions of rupees, were stolen by thieves. Many costly diamonds that have been stolen were not recovered but the thieves of a few precious stones were arrested and imprisoned. Despite diamond-the most guarded carbon in the world- will continue to be the thieves’ centre of attraction and will be robbed for years to come. Here, we are presenting a list of the top 5 diamond heists in history.
July 2013: Carlton Cannes
On July 2013 in Cannes, France, the largest diamond heist took place ever. On a very clear, frozen Sunday evening, an armed thief entered the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel and stole diamonds, gold and other valuable jewels at $136 million in loot all-together. The thief had worn a baseball cap and scarf, carrying an automatic pistol. He broke in the salon, which was poorly guarded, through a French door and then escaped on foot with the bag containing valuables. The thief has never been arrested and brought to justice.
August 2009: Graff Diamonds, London
Britain’s biggest gem raid took place on 6 August, 2009 when two men wearing suits, posing as wealthy customers, entered the Graff Diamonds store in New Bond Street, London. It was very difficult to recognize them as they had visited a professional artist, who applied latex prosthetics and wigs to change their look. They flashed their guns and forced employees to hand over the jewels valued at a whopping $65 million. They then fled from the store, fired a gunshot to frighten the witnesses, and then drove off in a series of cars. During their speedy escape, they forgot one cell phone in one of their vehicles, which helped police to arrest the criminals. Although, the perpetrators were behind bars, police never recovered the lost jewels.
December 2008: Harry Winston
The robbery happened in December 2008 when three well-dressed women walked into the Harry Winston shop in Paris. These seemingly ladies turned out to be male thieves in disguise. Once inside, they pulled out handguns and hand grenade, attacked several employees and walked out with $108 million worth of jewellery and watches altogether. Police assumed that the thieves were the worker of Pink Panthers- an international gang of robbers whereas the French authorities consider it was an inside job. Later, the thieves have been caught by the police, but some of the jewels were never found.
February 2003: Antwerp Diamond Centre
Took place during the weekend of February in Antwerp diamond district of Belgium, it is considered as the world’s biggest diamond heist. The thieves stole diamonds and other valuable jewels at more than $100 million. All the burglars have covered their face. It is believed that there were five robbers who carried out the heist. Along with the valuable merchandise, they also managed to steal camera footage from the building security cameras so that police did not identify and catch them. However, the leader of the gang, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was later arrested by the police and he served 10 years in prison before being released on parole.
October 1964: The Star of India
The Star of India is the world’s largest sapphire that has stars on both sides. The heist took place on October 29, when three men in a cat-burglar style entered the bathroom window of the New York’s Museum of Natural History, and found that the sapphire was the only gem in the collection that was protected by an alarm. They along with the Star of India robbed stole other jewels all that together valued at more than $400,000. Within two days, the robbers- Jack Murphy, Allen Kuhn and Roger Clark get arrested.
So, if we evaluate all the big diamond heists, we will find at least a couple of things common. First, a perfect and successful thief needs inside assistance. And second, while the burglars may be arrested, the diamonds are almost unrecovered.