A diamond heist you would only expect to see in an action movie just took place in London. Over the Easter weekend, a group of jewelry thieves completed one of the largest heists in recent history. The thieves raided over 300 safety deposit boxes from a firm in Hatton Gardens, London, with the expected value of the items being valued at tens of millions of pounds.
Information is limited as to what actually happened so far. From what we can gather, the thieves broke into the firm on Good Friday by drilling in through one of the walls. A security sensor was activated, but when the security guard arrived, he did not notice anything amiss when he walked around the perimeter. It is suspected that the group of thieves then spent the weekend drilling into the room with all of the safety deposit boxes, before drilling into and searching each individual box. The theft was not noticed until Tuesday morning, when the local police were contacted.
Getting inside was apparently quite easy for the robbers. There was no sign of forced entry into the building, leading some investigators to believe they had inside help. Once inside, the group disabled the elevator and climbed down the shaft. They then used a diamond-tipped power tool to drill through a 2-meter thick wall. The drill was found inside the vault when the police arrived, apparently left behind as the thieves made their getaway. It was a specialist Hilti DD350 diamond coring drill, which are designed to penetrate solid materials like concrete. It is typically not used for heists, but more commonly things like creating manhole openings in a street.
This would have been a slow going process, but with the place closed for the long weekend, the robbers had plenty of time. Once inside they were able to go through several dozen safety deposit boxes and examine their contents. Police are still investigating to see what could have been taken, and informing the victims as they learn more.
What Was Inside?
Inside the safety deposit boxes were a wide range of items. Some people left their valuables in them over the long weekend, and experts agree that inside the boxes were most likely stocked with jewelry and loose diamonds. Most of the people who had boxes inside this firm were a part of the jewelry/diamond trade. This is standard practice, as a lot of jewelers will put their stock in safety deposit boxes, leaving their valuables inside them over long weekends. What makes it worse is that many of these gems had not been made into jewelry yet – meaning they were not laser inscribed. This makes them very hard to locate, and easy for the thieves to sell.
At this point, the investigation is still ongoing. Police have asked anyone with information to please step forward, but some fear that by now the thieves have most likely left the country. This is one of the largest heists to take place in a long time, and it is devastating to the jewelry industry. What do you think about a heist of this magnitude? Do you think that they had some inside help? If you keep your valuables in a safety deposit box, does this make you question their safety? Or was this just an isolated incident in which one location didn’t have the proper security measures in place?