Robbers who stole diamonds were disguised as cops

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 06:06 hrs

Brussels: The machine-gun-toting men who stole $50 million worth of diamonds from a Brink's armoured truck at Brussels international airport were wearing police uniforms, Belgian prosecutors said Tuesday.

The assailants pulled off the robbery in a scant five minutes and sped away in two vehicles fitted with sirens, the Brussels district attorney's office told the media.

The robbers pointed their guns at the Brink's driver, as well as at the pilots and copilots on the Swiss airliner onto which the gems were to be transferred and flown to Zurich.

One of the vehicles used in the robbery was found totally burned-out later in Zellick, northwest of Brussels.

The stolen shipment that came by road from Antwerp included rough and cut diamonds worth some $50 million, but also "other objects of value", Caroline de Wolf, spokeswoman for Antwerp World Diamond Center, told EFE.

The total value of the haul, between diamonds and other items in the shipment, amounted to some 350 million euros ($468.35 million), Belgium's VRT television said Tuesday.

The AWDC said it was "very concerned about what happened", which it believes "raises many questions about airport security in Brussels", through which diamonds worth between $150 million and $200 million are shipped every day, De Wolf said.

Antwerp is the world hub for the diamond trade, both for jewelry and for industrial purposes.



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