Monday, April 18, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panthers, Two for the Price of One !!

Pink Panther gang strikes again and again?

An armed gang have raided two casinos in two hours in the south of France, stealing £90,000, prompting fears the notorious Pink Panthers gang have struck again.

In the first case, the meticulously planned attack saw six men in face masks brandishing Kalashnikovs and stun grenades arriving at the Partouche Casino in Aix-en-Provence in stolen sports cars soon after 2am on Monday morning.

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

Two hours later they raided another Partouche Casino 50 miles away in La Ciotatas it was closing, threatening staff customers before escaping with an undisclosed sum.

The Pink Panther gang, usually known for their audacious jewwellery heists, are now thought to have been responsible for all 11 casino raids in France in the past year.

A spokesman for the Marseille anti-banditry brigade investigating the latest robberies said: “In the first raid, the men emptied the casino of all its funds and then made off at high speed on to the motorway towards Marseilles.

“Both robberies showed the typical modus operandi of the Pink Panthers, swift, meticulously planned, brutally efficient and using heavy weapons.”

Prosecutors from the Anti-Banditry Brigade in Marseilles are connecting the raid with nine 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 Clouseau.

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 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.

Art Hostage Comments:

Lets not be too hasty as this is a Modus Vivendi between Pink Panthers and the de la Brise de Mer, with a sprinkling of Marseille Crime and Separatist groups.

The worst area for crime is the Mediterranean coast (one of the most corrupt and crime-ridden regions in Europe), particularly around Marseille and Nice, where most crime is attributable to a vicious underworld of racketeers and drug dealers. Marseille is notorious as the centre of organised crime such as drug-trafficking, money-laundering, robbery and prostitution. There’s a growing use of guns in urban crime, and gang killings are fairly frequent in Marseille and Corsica, where separatist groups such as the Front Lib√©ral National Corse ( FLNC), Cuncolta Naziunalist and the Mouvement pour l’Autod√©termination ( MPA) have become increasingly violent in recent years.

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