Armed robbers, according to the police, broke into the Maastricht (Netherlands) art fair in broad daylight on Tuesday, June 28 – one of the largest in Europe. A video broadcast on social networks and relayed in particular by a Dutch journalist shows four men in elegant clothes, caps and glasses smashing the window of a jeweler to the mass.
Two of the men brandish something that looks like weapons, facing a man who tried to intervene, armed with a large vase full of flowers. They then made off with an undisclosed amount of what police called a “loot”.
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Dutch police launched an extensive search operation involving a helicopter and sniffer dogs and quickly arrested two men, aged 22 and 26, from Belgium. They were driving a gray vehicle registered in Belgium, which was intercepted, and their “possible involvement is still under investigation”said the police.
“There were four suspects, two were arrested”, said Wim Coenen, spokesperson for the Limburg provincial police. The theft led to the evacuation of the premises but the fair, which attracts tens of thousands of people over several days, finally reopened. No one was injured, police said.
The Tetaf (The European Fine Art Fair) is one of the largest art fairs, and for this edition presented hundreds of works, including a painting from the 17e century of a great Dutch master, displayed at one million euros.
According to Dutch media, the shop window targeted by the burglars contained diamond jewelery and other treasures from a London jeweler, Symbolic & Chase. The company did not react. Police confirmed in a statement that “jewels were stolen”without giving further details.
This is not the first time that the Tetaf has been targeted by criminals. In 2011, a diamond and a diamond-encrusted necklace worth 860,000 euros were stolen, again from a jeweler from London.