Thieves used a £3,500 ($US5,100) heavy-duty drill to break into safety deposit boxes of London’s jewellery quarter over Easter weekend, fleeing with an estimated £200 million in diamonds, jewels, and cash.
Flying Squad detective chief inspector Paul Johnson said in a statement Thursday that police were alerted on Tuesday morning of a burglary in Hatton Garden that took place over the bank holiday, when businesses were closed.
Hatton Garden is an area in London’s Holborn district that is famous for its jewellery trade.
Johnson described the scene after the robbery as “chaotic.” The floor was covered in dust and debris along with safety deposit boxes that had been forced open. Power tools, including an angle grinder, concrete drills, and crowbars were also scattered about the place.
Authorities say the burglars opened the shutter doors into the basement where Hatton Garden Safety Deposit box is and then used a Hilti DD350 drill, which retails for £3,475, to bore holes into a two-metre thick vault wall made of reinforced concrete. The thieves managed to break into 70 deposit boxes.
“We are in the process of identifying the owners of the safety deposit boxes and as we do we are contacting them to take statements and find out what has been stolen. This is a slow and ongoing process,” Scotland Yard said in statement.
Police are also investigating whether a fire near the city centre last Wednesday that led to a power outage could have been linked to the heist.
John O’Connor, the head of Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad, told LBC radio station on Wednesday: “Yeah, I think that probably was deliberate. I’ve never heard of an outage of electricity like that causing a fire that lasted as long as that. That seems to me as too much of a coincidence.”
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