Dozens Arrested in Connection to $50M Diamond Heist in Belgium
(BRUSSELS) -- Police in three countries have arrested 31 people in connection to a multi-million dollar diamond heist that took place in Belgium earlier this year.
Anja Bijnens from the Brussels prosecutors' office confirmed to ABC News on Wednesday that one person was arrested in France, six were taken into custody in Switzerland and 24 were detained in Belgium.
Bijnens said that police also recovered a large amount of cash and some diamonds from the heist, but she did not specify how much.
The Feb. 18 robbery seemed like it was right out of the movies, with thieves driving onto Belgium's airport tarmac at night and stealing more than $50 million of diamonds from a plane without firing a single shot.
It took the robbers less than five minutes to cut through an airport fence, drive up to a Helvetic jet in cars with flashing lights, hold up the pilot and security officials on the plane, and take 120 packages full of rough and cut stones, according to the Belgium prosecutor's office. The men carried submachine guns and were dressed in police uniforms.
"They forced open the fence between two construction sites, they made a hole, they went on the tarmac and they escaped through the same hole in the fence," the prosecutor's spokeswoman, Ine Vanwymersch, told reporters in Belgium at the time.
The heist was one of the largest thefts in history and raised questions about whether the thieves were tipped off to the location of the jewels by an insider, and how they could so easily drive onto the tarmac in a major European capital.
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