Netherlands: Armed robbers break into European art fair in Maastricht

Netherlands: Armed robbers break into European art fair in Maastricht

The showcase targeted by the burglars contained jewelry, according to Dutch media.

Armed robbers, according to the police, broke into the Maastricht (Netherlands) art fair in broad daylight on Tuesday, one of the largest in Europe. In a video posted by a Dutch journalist from the NOS media, we can see a man smashing a window to the mass. He appears to be accompanied by three other men in smart clothes, caps and glasses.

Two of the men brandished what looked like firearms as another tried to step in, armed with a large vase full of flowers. The four individuals can be seen running off at the end of the video.

“Normally it’s very calm (…) and serene, but suddenly I heard a lot of noise, I turned and suddenly I saw these men”, told the public broadcaster NOS Jos Stassen, a visitor. “One started banging (on the window) and the others were keeping people away, scaring everyone. I also saw a gun. It happened very quickly and it lasted a very short time. time, but I’m still shaking a little”.

Two suspects arrested

“Police are investigating a possible armed robbery at TEFAF (the art fair) in Maastricht. Four suspects are believed to be involved. They are wanted by numerous units”, wrote the police of the Dutch province of Limburg on Twitter around noon.

She then announced that she had arrested two people and cut off several adjoining roads in town to track down the final two suspects.

According to a police statement released in the afternoon, the two people arrested are a 22-year-old man and a 26-year-old man from Belgium. They were stopped “on the A2 in front of the Willem Alexandertunnel”.

Stolen jewelry

According to Dutch media, the shop window targeted by the burglars contained products from a London jeweler. In a tweet posted shortly after the theft, the French magazine The Art Tribune talks about “a ground-smashed jewelry stand”, and posts pictures of the shattered glass.

The police confirmed in their press release that it was indeed a theft of jewels, without saying more about the nature of what had been stolen, nor the amount. She calls people who might have information about the theft to pass it on to her.

The premises of the art exhibition were initially evacuated before welcoming the public again about an hour later, reports a Dutch journalist from 1Limburg.

“The situation is under control”

“The situation is under control and the show is still open to visitors and exhibitors”, assures TEFAF in a tweet in the early afternoon, nearly 3 hours after what she calls “an incident”.

TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) is one of the largest art and antique fairs on the planet and usually attracts tens of thousands of visitors. It has existed for more than 30 years and was making a comeback this year, after a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is not the first time that a theft of jewelry has been reported there. A diamond ring and necklace worth 860,000 euros were stolen in 2010 during the same event, reported then The Journal of the Arts. We can also read in an article of the Point that a necklace worth 1.2 million euros was stolen there in 2008.

Salome Vincendon with AFP BFMTV journalist

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