Armed thieves yesterday stole a diamond at an international art fair in broad daylight in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The site was evacuated, but visitors returned to Tefaf (European Foundation for Fine Arts) when the police verified that the situation was under control, according to the British newspaper The Guardian. Two Belgians, aged 22 and 26, were arrested.
In videos posted on social media, it is possible to see four men in berets and blazers breaking a jewelry box with a sledgehammer in front of several visitors, who were scared. Even with the alarm going off, they didn’t stop stealing what they wanted.
A visitor even grabbed a vase of flowers to try to intervene in the situation, but backed off after they pointed the gun at him. Despite this, no one was hurt.
Win Coenen, a spokesperson for the Limburg Police, confirmed the arrest of part of the group. “A tent was invaded, they fled and we started the search. There were four suspects, two were arrested.”
According to local media, the window coveted and broken by thieves contained diamond jewelry by London-based Symbolic & Chase. Police have not yet confirmed the damage caused by the robbery, but jewelry was eventually taken.
Tefaf is considered one of the largest in Europe and has hundreds of valuable works, such as a 17th century drawing by an old Dutch artist for sale for 1 million euros (R$ 5.5 million at the current price).
Bart Drenth, the fair’s general manager, said the owners of the destroyed booth were “shocked.” He explained that the site’s security protocol worked, even though the thieves managed to break in and steal. Another spokesperson believed that the quick work of security was important to disarm one of the men.