Written by Evan Gabriel
BRUSSELS — Only minutes before the Swiss Flight LX789 was set to depart from the Brussels Airport, eight men carrying automatic weapons stole $50 worth of diamonds from the cargo compartment.
With the plane idling for a mere 18 minutes before take off, the eight suspects approached the tarmac and proceeded to unload the precious stones into their vehicles before speeding off, all within about 5 minutes, according to local media reports.
Valued at millions of dollars, the diamonds had arrived from Antwerp, about 27 miles from the Brussels Airport.
Ms. De Wolf of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, said Antwerp “accounts for 80 percent of the world’s diamond trade and 50 percent of trade in polished gems,” according to a New York Times interview.
The diamonds—both rough and cut—were to be flown to Switzerland where they would be distributed to various handlers.
But how did nobody stop the suspects?
De Wolf said in a statement that she believed that the suspects cut a hold into the fence of a nearby construction site. The suspects then drove onto the tarmac in two black vehicles with flashing lights that resembled police cars.
Disguised in hoods and faux-police uniforms, the suspects wielded automatic weapons and ordered the ground staff to stand back. No shots were fired.
Spokeswoman Anja Bijens noted, “This was not a random robbery,” and called the heist “well-prepared,” shedding light on the fact that the eight suspects were not small-time robbers, but “professionals.”
Bijens was quoted estimating that “120 packages of diamonds” were taken.
Naturally, due to the timely fashion of the robbery and the information on the flight’s loading and departure times, suspicion has risen about the robbery being an inside job. Still, no evidence has been uncovered to legitimize this suspicion.
No arrests have been made. Police are continuing to investigate a burned-out white van that was found near the airport following the robbery.