World’s Biggest Diamond Heists

Schiphol Airport

Diamond heists have captured the public’s imagination for centuries. The exciting tales about gangs of thieves looting diamond vaults and trucks for the coveted gems has been mimicked in crime fiction novels and dozens of Hollywood films. But there are several real-life heists that trump all fictional accounts on the subject.

The Hauge, Netherlands’ Museon of Museum of Science was the setting of one of the country’s biggest diamond thefts. The museum hosted a diamond exhibit in December of 2002 that featured royal jewels and rare pieces from private collectors. After closing on Sunday evening, a group of thieves entered the museum and looted the diamonds in six of 28 display cases that were used in the exhibit.  When the museum reopened the following Tuesday, the heist was discovered.

The heist dumfounded investigators since the diamonds were housed in motion-detection cabinets behind reinforced glass, guarded by a 24-hour security detail and monitored around-the-clock by surveillance cameras. In all, thieves stole $12 million worth of diamonds. The stones were never recovered and no arrests were made.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport was the sight of arguably the most expensive diamond heist of all-time. In February 2005, a shipment of diamonds worth an estimated $118 million was being prepared for air transport to Antwerp, Belgium, the diamond capital of the world. The diamonds were to be transported via KLM airlines.

On the day of transport, the diamond-transport truck was intercepted on the airport tarmac by a group of thieves dressed in stolen KLM uniforms and driving a stolen KLM cargo track. Armed gunmen forced the drivers out of the cargo truck carrying the diamonds then drove the truck off the airport grounds.

The theft took place in broad daylight in front of hundreds of onlookers. However, the diamonds were never recovered.

The theft took place in broad daylight in front of hundreds of onlookers. However, the diamonds were never recovered.