Seven Crazy Details From The Belgian Diamond Heist That Will Definitely Get Turned Into A Movie

diamond heistA burned-out van found near the airport after the heist.

Photo: ABC News

Earlier it was reported that armed men stole as much as $67 million worth of diamonds from the Brussels airport.Other reports — including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Belgium broadcaster VRT — said the loot may have been worth closer to $350 million.

Here are more details of the heist, which officials are saying will go down as “one of the biggest” in history:

• A Brussels prosecutor’s office spokeswoman told The AP that eight masked men “tried to pass themselves off as police officers” by wearing outfits resembling dark police clothing and even armbands worn by airport police.

beligum policeBelgian police

Photo: Flickr/_skender_

• The robbers drove through an airport security fence in two black vehicles, a Mercedes van and Audi A8 (which are models typically used by Belgian security forces), that were outfitted with flashing blue police lights.

audi 8An Audi 8 driven by police in Brussels

Photo: YouTube/voetbalnu

• The robbers forced their way through a hole in the fence, at a place where two work sites obstructed a clear view. Airport authorities said it must have taken more than simply blasting through the opening with a vehicle to get through.

Screen shot 2013 02 19 at 11.06.45 AMThe scene near the fence that thieves broke through to enter the tarmac.

Photo: ABC News

• The robbers, armed with machine guns, drove straight up to the Zurich-bound Swiss passenger plane about 20 minutes before departure time, threatened to shoot the guards and the aircraft’s two pilots, then methodically broke into the hold on the outside plane where the diamonds were being held.

airport brussels

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

• Brussels Airport spokesman Jan Van der Cruysse told Bloomberg the diamond thieves needed only three minutes at the plane and only 11 minutes total to seize 120 parcels, mostly containing diamonds but some also contained precious metals. “This was a very precise, almost military-organised and well-executed robbery,” Van der Cruysse said.

Debeers diamonds

Photo: De Beers

• The thieves immediately left where they came in. On Tuesday morning police found a burnt-out van — which they suspect was used by the robbers — not far from the airport.

diamond heist

Photo: ABC News

• A person familiar with the events told WSJ that the thieves appear to have had substantial help from insiders.

Screen shot 2013 02 19 at 11.05.40 AM

Photo: ABC News

“What we are talking about is obviously a gigantic sum,” Caroline De Wolf of the Antwerp World Diamond centre told AP. “It was incredible how easy it all went.”Antwerp, the second-largest city in Belgium, is the world’s capital for diamond cutting as about eight in every 10 rough diamonds, and five in every 10 polished diamonds, pass through it.

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