In a brazen operation straight out of a Hollywood movie, a multi-million-dollar diamond heist has taken place at the Brussels Airport. Reports are saying that Monday’s robbery may be one of the biggest heists in history. Here’s what you should know about this insane robbery.
1. The Thieves Posed As Security
According to authorities, eight of the robbers may have posed as officers to get past security. The group was able to cut through a perimeter fence and drive out to the tarmac. Once they got to the plane, the group held the crew and passengers at gunpoint, forcing security to open the cargo in order to steal at least 120 packets the diamonds. FlighGlobal received a statement from the Brussels Airport stating that no one was hurt and no firearms went off: “This lasted only a few minutes and, after that, they left the airport domain through the damaged fence.”
2. The Diamonds Were Worth Up to $450 Million
People familiar with the events that took place haven’t said how much the diamonds are worth. According to various reports, the stolen diamonds could be worth from anywhere between $50 to $450 million, making this perhaps the biggest diamond heist in history.
3. The Robbery Took Just 11 Minutes
The theft was a quick one that took place in a cargo hold on an airplane operated by Swiss International Airlines. Brussels Airport spokesman Jan Van der Cruysse told Bloomberg News that the diamond thieves planned this heist with precision, needing only three minutes at the plane to do a heist that took only 11 minutes total. “It was very well organized, very swift, efficient and well planned,” Van der Cruysse said.
4. The Thieves May Have Left Without a Trace
After the armed robbers took the diamonds, police searched for clues that link to the masked thieves. The only thing that they found was a burned-out minivan, possibly one of the vehicles in the heist, according to ABC News.
5. There Hasn’t Been a Heist at the Airport Since 2002
Jewelry at the Brussels Airport gets shipped to and from the city of Antwerp, a major hub for trading valuable gems. The airport previously suffered through more than a decade of robberies, forcing the Belgian government to beef up security. After 2002, security has improved significantly at Brussels Airport to prevent anyone from cutting the fences and entering the protected zone. Prosecutor Ine Van Wymersch said that there hasn’t been a heist since 2002, according to the The Wall Street Journal. Somehow, the robbers knew that there was construction going on in the area, making their heist a successful one.