Monday, April 18, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panthers, Sun is Shining, The Boys Are Back In Town !!!

Have the Pink Panthers struck again? Gang uses Kalashnikovs and stun grenades to steal £90k in daring raid on French casino

An armed gang brandishing Kalashnikovs and stun grenades have raided a casino in the south of France - sparking fears the infamous Pink Panther crime mob may have struck again.

The meticulously planned attack saw six men in face masks arriving at the Partouche Casino in Aix-en-Provence in stolen sports cars soon after 2am.

They then led a croupier to a safe and, threatening him with a rifle butt, emptied it of around £90,000 in euros in front of terrified customers.

It was the 10th raid on a casino in France over the past year, with the Pink Panthers suspected on almost every occasion.

The Pink Panthers are one of Europe's most feared criminal outfits and are thought to be behind many of the most audacious jewellery heists in recent history.

‘Nobody was hurt this time around, but it was an extremely brutal raid,’ said a police source investigating the raid in Aix, a city hugely popular with British tourists and expatriates.

Confirming that the raid had all the hallmarks of a Pink Panther hit, the source said: ‘The men emptied the casino of all its funds and then made off at high speed on to the motorway towards Marseilles.

‘They were clearly experienced criminals who had done this type of thing before. They were armed to the teeth with weapons from eastern Europe.’

Prosecutors from the Anti-Banditry Brigade in Marseilles are connecting the raid with 10 carried out since April 2010, including one on the Lucien Barriere Casino in nearby Cassis in February.

The Pink Panthers earned their name in 1993 after stealing a £500,000 diamond from a jewellers in London's Mayfair and hiding it in a jar of face cream.

It was a tactic copied from the 1963 Pink Panther film, starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Closeau.

The Pink Panthers are said to speak several languages and travel on genuine passports issued to other people, but with the photos changed.

They have carried out around 120 heists across the globe, including further thefts in London, as well as in Paris, Dubai , Geneva , Monaco and Tokyo.

In all they have got away with some 150 million pounds worth of goods from luxury stores, and millions of pounds worth of cash from casinos, during the past two decades.

Nowadays France, and especially the Riviera, has become their favoured place to carry out their crimes.

In 2008 a court in Chambery, south-eastern France, found three Serb members of the Pink Panthers guilty of robberies in Biarritz, Cannes, Courchevel and Saint-Tropez.

No comments: