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'Pink Panther' gang busted during Barcelona jewel heist

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'Pink Panther' gang busted during Barcelona jewel heist
The notorius international jewel theives were named after the Peter Sellers' films. Archive photo: Mark Ralston/AFP
10:19 CEST+02:00
Five members, all Serbian, of a notorious armed robbery gang were caught on Friday as they attempted to rob a jewellery store in the Catalan capital.

A special operations unit from Catalan police force, los Mossos d'Esquadra were waiting to swoop on the gang of armed thieves as they held up a store on the Passeig de Gracia last Friday.

It took the thieves, notorious across Europe for a string of audacious heists, just 48 seconds to steal €400,000 before police swooped in, according to a statement by Spain's National Police.

The arrests came after German police tipped their Spanish counterparts off that one of the thieves was traveling from Belgrade to Barcelona.

Interpol estimate that the "Pink Panther" gang, named after the Peter Sellers' films, stole €334 million ($370 million) in jewels from 380 armed robberies between 1999 and 2015.

In 2014 the alleged leader of the gang Borko Ilincic, a 33-year-old Serbian, was detained by officers from the National Police in the town of Alcala de Henares, just outside Madrid. 

The gang is believed to be made-up of 200 ex-military personnel, mainly from the Balkan states, and has been operating for at least 30 years.

Police revealed images following the arrests, including the jewellery stole, the tools used – a sledge hammer and a pistol – and a dark black wig used as a disguise by one of the perpetrators.


Photo: Policia National

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