Clever disguises, dangerous firearms, and a greased lightning-fast aircraft burglary prior to takeoff became the main ingredients of what is arguably the most daring diamond heist in recent history.
Witnesses described the theft as involving eight robbers dressed up like police officers. They were masked, and were brandishing laser-equipped machine guns as they made for a Zurich-bound Helvetic airline on the Brussels airport tarmac. Their specific target turned out to be $50 million worth of uncut diamonds being loaded on the passenger jet. Emerging from an Audi with a flashing police light and a Mercedes van, the eight armed robbers headed for the jewelry delivery truck parked next to the Helvetic airline. They held up the plane’s pilot, co-pilot, and security staff while forcing open the cargo hold. Over a hundred packages containing diamonds were taken by the fleeing men, who rushed back to their getaway vehicles, police light still flashing.
The heist took just about three minutes to execute.
Does this make it THE perfect diamond heist? Just recently, Brilliance released an infographic called “Let’s Steal Some Diamonds”. It features the many “facets” making up a high-profile diamond theft. Eight of the most publicized diamond heists since the year 2000 are discussed briefly in the infographic, with information on the tools and methods used, and how the heist ended.
A couple of methods echoing those in the infographic were employed in this Brussels airport theft, including costumes and guns. In particular, it mirrored that of “The Hijacking Job” section of the infographic: a KLM truck filled with $118 million worth of diamonds at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport was hijacked by robbers in KLM cargo uniforms. This event happened on February 25, 2005, and is considered the most expensive diamond heist to date. It has remained unsolved up to this day.