On Holy Thursday, thieves unknown rappelled down the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit building in London, broke into its vault, and spent four days over Easter weekend filling their pockets with $300 million worth of jewels in a heist that reads like a Hollywood script.
And in an embarrassing twist, police could’ve stopped the jewel heist Friday – an alarm sounded that day but was ignored because the doors were still locked. Hatton Garden staff discovered the robbery Tuesday, CNN reported.
Which means the jewel thieves planned their heist very well. It’s believed they disarmed Hatton Garden’s security system, and spent four days making their way through valuables underground.
The long Easter holiday coincided with Passover and assured the London bank would be closed all weekend, the Express UK reported. They also knew that the jewelry shops in the neighborhood would’ve stored their wares at the bank over the holiday, added the London Evening Standard.
Heist victim Norman Bean told the BBC that the thieves used rappelling equipment to get into the lift shaft and heavy-duty cutting equipment to reach and then cut into the vault. They also drilled into safe deposit boxes containing jewels, diamonds, watches, and cash – perhaps 300 of 600 total boxes.
“They could have been there all weekend, who knows? It’s a disgrace, it’s like something out of a film.”
Authorities aren’t sure just how much was stolen during the jewel heist, but at this point estimate the damage at $300 million lost – and most of the victims are London’s jewel and gold traders. There are plenty of them in Hatton Garden, which is situated in a neighborhood that since Medieval times has been the epicenter of the jewel trade in the city.
One of these traders is Michael Miller, who may have lost $75,000 in jewelry and watches, including a $7,500 one he bought for his son. Another victim lost a half-cut aqua diamond, another a pear-shaped diamond ring.
“There’s a sort of old-fashioned audacity about it,” Former London police chief Roy Ramm told BBC. “The amount of money and the (jewels) that are taken is never fully revealed… and there’s a good chance that not everybody would declare.”
Police have quite a job on their hands now – spokesmen told CNN it’ll take two days of “slow and painstaking” forensic sleuthing to get to the bottom of the heist. If former London Metropolitan Police Officer, Barry Phillips’, impressions are correct, investigators have a tough job on their hands.
“The raid was well planned and executed. Very few people would be able to finance and organise this. I cannot recall a case of this kind that did not have some kind of insider agent, someone who understood the layout, how to defeat the alarms.”
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