International Jewelry Heists in History

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

PARIS (AP) - Sunday's theft of diamond jewelry in France - estimated at $136 million - appears to be the largest such heist in recent history. Here are some other major examples.

- February 2013: Some $50 million worth of diamonds from the global diamond center of Antwerp, Belgium, are stolen at the Brussels airport after being loaded on a plane headed to Zurich. Authorities have since detained dozens of people and recovered much of the loot.

- August 2009: Two elegantly dressed men rob the Graff Diamond Store in London's posh Mayfair district and carry away necklaces, watches, rings and bracelets worth more than 40 million pounds ($62 million at today's exchange rate), according to Scotland Yard.

- December 2008: Thieves, some dressed as women, steal $118 million in rings, necklaces and luxury watches from the Harry Winston store near the Champs-Elysees in Paris, in what was then France's biggest ever jewelry robbery. A similar robbery had taken place in the same store about a year earlier.

- February 2008: Masked thieves drill a tunnel into the Damiani showroom in Milan, Italy, making off with an estimated $20 million in gold, diamonds and rubies, though Damiani would not confirm the worth. Nine men were arrested in December in connection with the robbery.

- October 2007: Thieves steal about $28.4 million in gems from the Harry Winston store in central Paris.

- March 2007: 120,000 karats in diamonds, worth $28 million, are stolen from open safe-deposit boxes in an ABN Amro bank in Antwerp.

- February 2005: Thieves threaten the guards and hijack an armored car from Dutch carrier KLM's cargo ramp at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, making off with millions in diamonds and jewelry. Subsequent media reports put the value of the loot at up to $100 million. "It was a secured area of the airport, so it's a big question how those people could get there," an airline spokesman said at the time.

- March 2004: Twelve pieces of jewelry worth about $31.5 million, including the 125-carat "Comtesse de Vendome" diamond necklace, are stolen from a store in Tokyo's Ginza district.

- February 2003: Thieves empty 123 safe-deposit boxes at Antwerp Diamond Center in Belgium, netting an estimated $100 million in the world's largest safe-deposit box theft.

- August 1994: Thieves armed with machine guns take $45 million in gems from the Carlton Hotel in Cannes on the French Riviera.

- March 1984: $15.4 million in jewels and gold are stolen when thieves crack a safe in a Hong Kong garment factory.


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