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Eight masked and armed thieves pulled off a daring robbery at Brussels Airport in Belgium on Tuesday, stealing as much as $67 million worth of diamonds in a matter of minutes without firing a shot. Police say the robbers busted a hole in a security fence at the airport then sped across the tarmac in two vehicles to a waiting passenger plane that had already been loaded with the precious cargo. It took just three minutes for them get into the cargo hold and clean out the goods, then speed back the same way they came in. (Police later found a burned out van not far from the airport.) Despite being heavily armed and temporarily taking over a plane full of waiting passengers, the robbers didn't fire a single gunshot and no one was harmed.

That is unless you count the diamond brokers at the Antwerp World Diamond Center, who just saw their security breached in an embarrassing fashion, and lost an estimated 50 million euros worth of rough and polished diamonds. More than 80 percent of all the new diamonds sold in the world each year travel through the Antwerp's Diamond District and they have been targeted for crimes like his one in the past. Today's robbery took place nearly 10 years to day after one of the largest robberies in the history of crime, a 2003 heist that cost the Diamond Center more than $100 million in jewels and gold. It remains to be seen if this one will end up as a book or a movie (or with the robbers turning up in frozen meat lockers), but this caper seems to have matched that one in skill, if not total value.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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