$108M STOLEN IN GIANT DIAMOND HEIST
NEW YORK (AP) -- Criminals, too, have to get by in a recession, and one group of robbers wanted nothing but the best.
Chic jewelry retailer Harry Winston Diamond Corp. was robbed of $108 million in merchandise Thursday, in one of the biggest jewel heists in history. The company's stock fell 42 cents, or 11.9%, to close at $3.12 on Friday.
It was déjà vu for the store, which caters to the über-rich on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne in Paris. A year ago, it was robbed of $28.4 million in jewels, according to Thomas Weisel analyst Matthew O'Keefe.
"While insurance should cover this loss, it could take several quarters before the settlement is received," the analyst noted. "With two robberies at the same place in a relatively short time span, there is a risk that insurance and security costs will rise, putting further pressure on the retail business." $108M Stolen
BALKAN GANG LINKED TO HARRY WINSTON HEIST?French police suspect that the Pink Panther gang, could have been responsible for last week’s Harry Winston robbery, Paris media report.
The recent robbery of Harry Winston fine jewelers in the French capital could have been perpetrated by the Pink Panther group, made up of a sophisticated chain of criminals from the former Yugoslavia, whose specialty is robbing large jewelry stores using “Hollywood methods”.
Last week, a French court convicted fugitive Dragan Mikić to 15 years, Goran Mikić to 10 years, and Boban Stojković to six years for robberies committed from 2001-2003, with booty totaling EUR 7.5mn.
Having pulled off spectacular heists in Paris, Geneva, Dubai, San Tropez, Monaco, Tokyo and London, worth more than EUR 100mn, the Pink Panther group has become a nightmare for police around the world, Paris daily Figaro writes.
After police stated that the latest robbery on Saturday bore all the hallmarks of the Pink Panther group’s style, French media have gone into the group’s modus operandi in detail.
Once a location has been determined, a team is sent for reconnaissance. This is usually a couple who play the role of rich clients, who speak several languages very well, and who are sent to gauge the security situation and plot an escape route. Another camouflaged team then takes care of the robbery.
According to the French media, the group’s “hard core” is made up of 30 kingpins based in Zagreb, Tirana and Belgrade, who send instructions to operatives made up of former Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin policemen and soldiers who fought in the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Pink Panther gang
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