Pink Panther Thief Arrested After Prison Escape

A member of the notorious Pink Panther jewel thief gang was arrested by police in France. The man had escaped from a Swiss prison earlier this year.

The Pink Panther gang has been credited with several robberies around Europe. The group has an affinity for high-priced items and has stolen around $436 million worth of jewels since 1999.

Zoran Tomovic, 47, was detained on Monday by about 20 well-armed police officers, reports NBC News. He attempted to flee from a friend’s home through the window, but was unsuccessful.

Tomovic was one of five inmates who escaped from a detention facility in Lausanne on May 14. He is wanted for armed robbery, weapons charges, and drug-trafficking charges in Switzerland.

He is also wanted by authorities in Macedonia, where he was convicted to 20 years in prison for the alleged murder of his former girlfriend. Tomovic has denied the charges.

ABC News notes that Southeast France has seen a growing number of high-profile jewelry heists that could be linked to the Pink Panthers. However, authorities don’t believe Tomovic is linked. Instead, they suggested he appeared to be more concerned with hiding than planning a heist.

Along with Tomovic, two other Pink Panther gang members have broken out of Swiss prisons already this year. The most recent escape was that of Milan Poparic, who escaped from a prison in the Swiss canton of Vaud last month.

The Pink Panther gang was given its name by police in London after they made an arrest in 2003 and discovered a diamond ring hidden inside a jar of face cream. The scene was reminiscent from the ploy in the original Pink Panther comedies.

In recent months, the group has been linked to a string of major thefts in Cannes, both at the Rivera resort and during the Cannes Film Festival in May. It is unclear it the Pink Panther thief arrested on Monday is linked to any of those crimes.

[Image via ShutterStock]

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