The biggest diamond heist in the world looked as if it came straight out of an action-packed, mind-game type of Hollywood flick. Much speculation revolved around it until one of the perpetrators by the name of Leonardo Notarbartolo shed light on the whole scheme, from start to finish, during an interview for a magazine.
It was of course the heist that took place in the Diamond District in Antwerp, Belgium; some time in February of 2003. One hundred and twenty-three vaults of the Antwerp Diamond Center were opened by Notarbartolo and his team and ran off with the loot estimated to be worth over one hundred million dollars.
Planning and execution are one for the books. There are however other noteworthy diamond heists that are in close rivalry with the biggest diamond heist in the world.
ABN Amro Bank, Belgium
If you are going to commit one of the biggest diamond heists in the world, might as well do it in the biggest diamond district in the world, too.
Antwerp, Belgium didn’t think it would happen so soon but just three years after Notarbartolo almost pulled off his diamond heist – until he got caught.
In 2007, ABN Amro never saw it coming. After all, one Carlos Hector Flomenbaum was quite a charmer. Everyone at the bank loved him. Everyone at the bank saw him as a successful business entrepreneur.
Some time in March, Flomenbaum used his passkey to open the bank’s vaults and walked off with one hundred and twenty thousand carats of diamonds. Puzzling as it may seem that he passed security on his way out, but that’s exactly what he did.
Famous jewelry company Damiani never imagined that their showroom will fall victim to thieves because they have the most advanced anti-burglary system in place plus there was a guard standing duty by the showroom at all times.
How did the thieves pull it off? They posed as policemen doing an inspection of the premises and then they tied and gagged the staff so they can freely steal their loot.
After about half an hour, the thieves walked off with twenty million dollars worth of diamonds, gold and rubies.
Museums hold priceless items and as such, these are always heavily guarded by armed security personnel and are equipped with sophisticated alarm systems to dissuade unscrupulous characters from stealing any of these precious items.
But in December of 2002, The Museon, lost its most precious gems – diamond jewelries as well as other gems that were on exhibit. There have been claims that priceless royal gems were among those stolen by what have been called as “invisible thieves.”
Why invisible? The alarms never went off, the motion sensors, the surveillance cameras didn’t have any videos showing the heist taking place and the cabinets holding the precious gems showed no signs of being tampered with.
Estimated worth of the stolen items is twelve million dollars.