Skip to main content

33 arrests in Belgium diamond heist

From Carol Jordan, CNN
updated 9:26 AM EDT, Wed May 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police arrest 33 suspects in connection with a diamond heist at Brussels Airport
  • People are detained in Belgium, Switzerland and France, Brussels prosecutor's office says
  • $50 million in rough and polished diamonds was stolen in the heist in February

(CNN) -- More than 30 arrests have been made in the diamond heist last February at Brussels Airport and some of the stolen diamonds have been recovered, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

How could diamond thieves sell them?

Police arrested 24 people Tuesday in Belgium, eight in Switzerland, and one in France, said Jean-Marc Meilleur, the office's spokesman. Police in Belgium raided about 40 houses in Brussels on Wednesday.

Authorities discovered some of the stolen diamonds in Switzerland, and money in Belgium, Switzerland and France, Meilleur said. Luxury cars were seized in Belgium, he said.

Read more: Security questions at Brussels airport after $50 million diamond heist

At this point, all those arrested are being questioned by the police locally, he said.

The slick theft of $50 million in rough and polished diamonds in a dramatic heist grabbed the headlines in February.

Authorities said then that eight masked, heavily armed men in clothing resembling police uniforms had burst through a hole in the perimeter fence onto the airport tarmac in two vehicles.

The men swiftly removed the diamonds from the hold of a Zurich-bound aircraft before speeding off the way they came.

Read more: Diamond heists are forever

While no one was hurt, the pilot, co-pilot and a transport security guard were all threatened at gunpoint, the Brussels prosecutor said.

Antwerp, the city known as the world's diamond-cutting capital, lies only about 25 miles away from Brussels.

Read more: Drag queens, fake beards and chocolates: Notable diamond heists

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT