Belgian police are looking for eight masked gunmen who stole tens of millions of pounds worth of jewels from a security van that was loading the hold of a Switzerland-bound plane
Belgian police are looking for eight masked gunmen who stole tens of millions of pounds worth of jewels from a security van that was loading the hold of a Switzerland-bound plane.
The raid at Brussels airport happened just before 8pm on Monday. The heavily armed men drove through the airport security fence in two vehicles, a Mercedes van and a car, and made straight for a Brink's delivery van. The staff were loading safes full of diamonds on to a Swiss plane bound for Zurich.
The gunmen quickly filled their vehicles with the boxes and fled through the same broken security barrier. No shots were fired. A burned-out van was later found nearby. The raid lasted just three minutes.
The exact value of brute diamonds, believed to hail from Antwerp, was uncertain, but estimates put it at £30m ($50m). "What we are talking about is obviously a gigantic sum," Caroline De Wolf of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre told the Belgian VRT network.
An airport spokesman, Jan Van Der Crujsse, said the gunmen made a hole in the perimeter fence, and drove right up to the Swiss plane, which was ready to leave. The men flashed their weapons and took the boxes of jewels from the hold.
Van Der Crujsse could not explain how the area could be so vulnerable to theft. "We abide by the most stringent rules," he said.