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Suspected member of 'Pink Panther' thievery ring extradited

By the CNN Wire Staff
Montenegrin Rifat Hadziahmetovic, 42, an alleged member of the 'Pink Panther' gang of international jewel thieves, arrives at the Narita International Airport in Japan August 14.
Montenegrin Rifat Hadziahmetovic, 42, an alleged member of the 'Pink Panther' gang of international jewel thieves, arrives at the Narita International Airport in Japan August 14.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Suspect in jewelry store heist flown to Japan
  • Diamond tiara worth $2.3 million stolen in 2007
  • Robbery ring is named for 1963 Peter Sellers movie

(CNN) -- A man police believe is a member of the ''Pink Panther'' ring of thieves was transported from Spain to Japan on Saturday to face charges in a major heist at a jewelry shop, a Japanese state news agency reported.

Rifat Hadziahmetovic, 42, of Montenegro, is suspected of stealing a diamond tiara worth 200 million yen ($2.3 million USD) and other jewelry from a Tokyo shop in 2007, according to the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo.

Spain agreed to hand Hadziahmetovic, who was in custody for a separate robbery, over to Japan, Kyodo news agency said.

The "Pink Panther" ring, which is believed to have about 200 members, is linked to more than 90 robberies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia since 1999, Kyodo said.

Hadziahmetovic is suspected of participating in other armed robberies in Bahrain, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, according to the Associated Press.

The ring is named after the 1963 movie starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Members are believed to be mainly from countries in the Balkans, the AP said.