It's the stuff of countless crime caper movies: while the rest of the city sleeps, a crack team of thieves break into a high-security building and make off with untold millions in jewels.
But this Easter in the U.K., fiction became fact as one of the London jewelry district's biggest safety deposit stores became the subject of an audacious raid.
Anxious jewelry traders returned to the safety deposit store in London's Hatton Garden on Wednesday morning, desperately seeking information after thieves broke into the building and stole valuables during the long Easter weekend.
London's Metropolitan Police were first notified on Tuesday morning by staff at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, who had returned to work after the four-day break. Heavy cutting equipment had appeared to have been used to get into the building's vaults, according to a police statement, and a number of safety deposit boxes had been broken into.
"This is a slow and painstaking process involving forensic examination, photographing the scene and recovering exhibits in meticulous detail in order to preserve the evidence," a press release from the police on Tuesday morning said.
The U.K.'s Sun newspaper estimated that the haul could be as much as £200 million ($300 million) in what could potentially be London's biggest jewelry heist. The police said that it believed approximately 60 to 70 safety deposit boxes had been looted.