Friday, 4 August 2023, 13:56
Thieves snatched a briefcase at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport without knowing there was 8.5-million-euros worth of valuables inside in what has been described as Spain's biggest heist in history.
A wealthy Russian family was in a queue in the T-1 check-in area when they left a white Louis Vuitton briefcase unattended for a few moments last Wednesday 26 July.
It was apparently lifted, "taking advantage of the large crowd queuing at the time, and in an area where similar thefts had recently occurred".
The family immediately went to the El Prat airport police station and it was at that moment, after the victims filed the complaint and described what was inside the suitcase, that the officers realised the enormous scale of the theft.
In the briefcase, according to the statement of the family, were, among other belongings, a diamond ring and earrings worth 4.5 million and 500,000 euros. There was also a Chanel brooch worth 750,000; a Bulgari watch worth 800,000 euros and another of the Chopard brand valued at 45,000; as well as more than 20,000 euros in cash.
Video surveillance was key
The El Prat airport police investigation unit was mobilised in a matter of minutes. A review of the airport's video surveillance systems was key and immediately identified the person who took the briefcase. It revealed that after the theft the man went into a nearby parking area and got inside a rented car where an accomplice was waiting for him.
The cameras revealed the licence plate of the vehicle and the Mossos regional police force alerted all units so they could locate it. Just under three hours after the theft, a patrol located and stopped the car on the AP-7 highway, near Salt, Girona. The officers recovered all of the cash and belongings and arrested the two alleged thieves.
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