Daring thieves in London made off with up to $300 million in diamonds and gems the biggest jewel heist ever reported, police sources said Wednesday.
In a stunning plan fit for a Hollywood screenplay, the “highly-organized” gang waited until Hatton Garden Safety Deposit closed on Easter weekend — before sliding down a lift shaft and tunneling into an underground vault with heavy machinery, the sources said.
They disabled an alarm, cut through two rows of underground security bars and sawed through the door of the vault, where they raided up to 70 boxes of jewelry, the sources said.
A security guard may have heard the alarm sound briefly Friday but said he “didn’t get paid enough” to check on it, the Daily Mail reported.
Owners were clueless about the robbery until they returned from the holiday weekend on Monday, the sources said.
Customers, some of whom don’t have insurance on jewels they stored at the business, are furious.
“ I feel sick…I can’t believe this has actually happened.
If you look at their website, they say they are the safest place around,” Knightsbridge jeweler Michael Miller, who had stored $55,000 in three safety deposit boxes, told the paper.
A half-cut aqua diamond, valued at $540,000 may among the goods stolen, sources said.
The safe deposit firm, in London’s famed jewelry quarter, was also raided 13 years ago.
“The loss is Huge.Robbery at one of the biggest safe deposits in Hatton Garden over the Easter weekend,” London gemologist Thelma West wrote on Twitter.
Many jewelers and dealers leave their stock in safe deposits over holiday periods, she added.
The biggest jewel heist previously reported was at a diamond show at the Cannes hotel Paris, where $136 million in diamonds were stolen by a masked gunman.
In 2000, a thief failed to swipe $523 million in diamonds from a display at London’s Millennium Dome.