Incredible heists carried out in some of the most opulent cities in the world. Millions of dollars worth of diamonds stolen in just minutes. The thieves—virtually untouchable and vanishing without a trace.
That, according to federal investigators, is the world of the network of criminals dubbed the Pink Panthers. The gang is suspected of pulling off some of the most brazen diamond heists in history. More than $100 million worth of diamonds was stolen in just the past month.
The Pink Panther methods are daring and quick. In July, a lone thief walked into a diamond exhibition at a luxury hotel in Cannes. In just 60 seconds, investigators say, he walked out with $138 million worth of jewels. The heist was carried out during the day, and, incredibly, the robber fell down when he jumped out of a hotel window but still managed to hold on to the loot and escape.
The wild move happened in the same hotel featured in Alfred Hitchcock's film "To Catch a Thief."
Days later, a jewelry store on the French Riviera was targeted. Investigators believe it could be the work of the Pink Panthers.
FBI Special Agent Dan McCaffrey is a diamond expert and tracks Pink Panther heists around the world. He said some of the diamonds taken in the Cannes caper are extremely rare and valuable. More than 20 jewels were 30 carats.
McCaffrey said the Pink Panthers are known for attention to detail and planning every step of the job—including how they will unload the stolen goods. He added that their goal is to get rid of diamonds as quickly as possible, and in past Pink Panther thefts, FBI agents have recovered stolen diamonds in the United States just days after they were lifted from jewelry stores in Europe.