By Calvin Palmer
Scotland Yard today released CCTV images of last week’s £40 million ($65.9 million) raid at an exclusive Mayfair jewelry store, thought to be biggest ever jewel heist in Britain.
Two smartly dressed men arrived by taxi at Graff Diamonds about 4:40 p.m. on August 6.
The CCTV footage shows the men entering the New Bond Street jeweler’s, whereupon they produced handguns and forced staff on to the floor.
The men grabbed 43 items – rings, necklaces and bracelets – and threw them into bag before seizing a female employee as a hostage to make sure they were not locked between the two security doors.
Once outside, the woman was released and a warning shot was fired as the men made their escape in a blue BMW.
When the getaway car collided with a taxi in Dover Street, the taxi driver and customers at a nearby pub gave chase. One of the men fired another warning shot before switching to a silver Mercedes and later a black vehicle, possibly a Ford Galaxy or VW Sharan.
It is thought the bag of jewelry was passed from the BMW to a waiting motorcyclist who was able to escape quickly through the London traffic.
Police believe at least two other men were involved in the raid as getaway drivers for the three vehicles.
Detective Chief Inspector Pam Mace from Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad said: “This was a well planned robbery with a number of vehicles used to help the robbers escape. These men are extremely dangerous and fired at least two shots in busy London streets as they made their getaway.
“Someone knows who these men are, they would undoubtedly have spoken about it beforehand or boasted about it afterwards. I would urge anyone who recognizes them, knows the whereabouts of the jewelry or has any other information to contact us.”
The first suspect is described as white, about 30, 5ft 10ins – 6 ft, with a slim build, dark hair with a well-combed side parting, light stubble on his face. He was wearing a grey suit, white shirt and tie.
The second is described as black, also in his 30s, 6ft tall, more well-built than the first suspect, and with very short Afro hair. He was also wearing a grey suit, white shirt and tie.
Detectives believe the raiders targeted the most expensive items in the store. One officer said: “They knew exactly what they were looking for and we suspect they already have a market for the jewels.”
A watch on all ports and airports was put into effect but police believe the two men may already have left the country.
Britain’s previous biggest jewelry robbery was a £23 million ($38 million) raid, in 2003, when two Serbians held up the same store.