The Diamond Center’s vault after the robbery.
The Antwerp Diamond Centre Robbery
The Antwerp Diamond Heist, dubbed the “heist of the century,” was the largest diamond heist in history. The thieves stole loose diamonds, gold, and other jewellery valued at more than $100 million. The heist took place in the Antwerp Diamond Centre, located in the centre of the gem district in Antwerp, Belgium.
On February 18th, a group of thieves drove out of a Brussels airport with millions of dollars worth of diamonds and gems. The investigation is ongoing, but this isn’t the first time that the federal authorities in Belgium have had to track down a team of highly sophisticated jewel thieves.
During the weekend in February, 2003, a team of professional thieves carried off what was one of the largest diamond heist of all time. The vault beneath the Antwerp Diamond Centre was left open, diamonds and other items of worth scattered along the floor, as it was discovered when the Centre opened for business on Monday morning.
What made this heist so improbable, and so fascinating, was the layers of security measures the thieves had to overcome. For starters, the vaults were two stories beneath the ground, limiting the ways in and out of the area. The Diamond Centre had its own team of security personnel monitoring the area. As they moved closer to the vault, they had to find a way past a lock with more than a million possible combinations, infrared heat detectors, doppler radar, seismic sensors, and a magnetic field wired to sound an alarm if it was disturbed. The vaults should have been impenetrable, so how did the team of thieves walk away with $100 million worth of diamond, cash, and loose gems?
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