By Calvin Palmer
An arrest has been made in connection with Britain’s biggest jewelry heist, the £40 million ($65 million) raid last week at Graff Diamonds in Mayfair.
The Metropolitan Police said a 50-year-old man was arrested outside a house in Ilford, Essex, on Monday. He has subsequently been bailed pending further inquiries. He is not one of the men seen on CCTV footage from the store.
Yesterday, police carried out a number of raids at several addresses in connection with the robbery but no details have been released.
The raid took place last Thursday when two smartly addressed men entered the New Bond Street jewelry store, pulled out handguns and grabbed 43 items – rings, necklaces and bracelets – valued at £40 million.
The men seized a female member of staff to ensure their getaway. Once outside, she was pushed aside and a warning shot was fired before the men made off in a blue BMW, one of several vehicles used to make their escape. The jewelry is thought to have been passed from the BMW to a motorcyclist.
It is likely that both the men and the jewelry are no longer in the country.
Antonia Kimbell, from the Art Loss Register’s recovery unit, said: “Inevitably these items are highly portable, which makes it easier for them to be transported abroad.
“Often they are gone within hours. A flight would have been set up and they would have been flown abroad immediately.
“When the jewellery leaves it will pass through a number of hands very quickly to disassociate itself with the people who carried out the initial robbery.”
Kimbell added: “The people who carried out the raid are likely to have dispersed and gone abroad.”
The execution of the raid leads Kimbell to believe that these men are pretty well connected.
“They had a lot of cars, a lot of back-up and support. It wasn’t just an opportunistic heist — they are sophisticated,” she said.