5 of the craziest diamond heists in history

5 of the craziest diamond heists in historyDiamond heists command a unique draw and attraction. There’s something in the glamour and eloquence of diamonds that bestows upon even crude criminal acts a touch of class. We’ve compiled for you some of the crazier ones, heists that stand out among the long list of diamond thefts.

The Antwerp Diamond HeistThe Antwerp Diamond Heist (2003) – Dubbed the “heist of the century”, a five-man team of diamond robbers rented an office space over a building housing a diamond vault, which they then dug down to gain access to. One of the perpetrators was eventually identified and arrested based on DNA evidence found on a partially-eaten salami sandwich near the scene of the crime, giving new significance to your mother’s constant declaration “waste not, want not”. Value of Heist – over $100 million.

The Antwerp Diamond HeistCannes Hotel Robbery (1994) – The luxurious Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France, housed an on-location jewellery store for the hotel guests. Three masked thieves toting machine guns burst into the store shooting in all directions. As the employees ducked for cover, the gunmen proceeded to grab handfuls of diamonds before escaping. Investigators were shocked at being unable to find a single bullet hole on scene, realizing the robbers had been shooting only blanks. Value of Heist – $60 million.

“Mona Lisa of Pearls” heist“The Mona Lisa of Pearls” (1913) – One of the most alluring of diamond robberies. British jeweller Max Mayer gained much fame for a most precious necklace made of only pink diamonds – dubbed by the New York Times at the time as the “Mona Lisa of Pearls”. Joseph Grizzard, a rich local with a taste for thrill, decided to steal the necklace for the sake of the adventure and adrenaline, managing the nearly-impossible feat of replacing the necklace with sugar cubes within a still sealed and locked box. The cheeky thief then invited police investigators to search his house while he hosted guests for a dinner party. After the detectives left the house empty-handed, Grizzard pulled the necklace out of his soup in front of the shocked guests. Grizzard remained silent on how he had pulled off the heist and it remains a mystery to this day.

Amsterdam Airport TheftAmsterdam Airport Theft (2005) – A gang of seven thieves snuck into Amsterdam’s Schipol airport before carjacking an armoured car carrying diamonds towards a plane waiting to transport them. The brazen robbers then drove the car out of the airport carrying the diamonds with them. Value of Heist – $75 million.

Graff Diamond RobberyGraff’s Diamond Robbery (2009) – Two members of the infamous “Pink Panthers” robbery crew walked into the British jewellery store dressed smartly in suits and without masks, before brandishing handguns and threatening the shocked shoppers. The pair grabbed 43 pieces of jewellery before taking a hostage, releasing her after entering their getaway car and driving off with their haul. Value of Heist – $53 million.

These are only a handful of the many stories of diamond heists. What’s clear is that as long as these precious stones are around, people will be wanting to get their hands on them, using legal or extralegal means.

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