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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

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