5 inmates make dramatic freedom dashFIVE prisoners have made a dramatic escape from a Swiss jail, using weapons passed from accomplices on the outside to threaten guards and other inmates before scaling the prison wall and disappearing, police say.
"There is an active manhunt for them, and they are listed as wanted both at a national and an international level," police in the canton of Vaud said in a statement.
The five men, one Frenchman, an Albanian, a Bosnian, a Kosovar, as well as Serbian member of the "Pink Panther" gang of international jewel thieves, took just five minutes to get away, the investigators said.
Around 10.20am on Tuesday they were in the walled in courtyard at the Bois-Mermet prison on the outskirts of Lausanne with some 30 other inmates when three masked accomplices on the outside climbed a ladder and threw a bag filled with weapons and other items into the yard.
Grabbing the gun from the bag, the five men threatened the other detainees and the guards and sprayed them with some kind of irritant to keep them away as they used pliers from the bag to cut a hole in the fence blocking their access to the prison wall, which they then climbed using a ladder provided by their accomplices, police said.
A sixth inmate tried to follow them, but guards managed to hold him back as he was climbing the ladder.
The escapees and their accomplices fled the scene in two vehicles.
Car used in Wafi City robbery on show at Dubai Police Museum
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The Pink Panthers are a gang of jewel thieves responsible for some of the most glamorous armed robberies in history. Criminologists even refer to their bold style and intricate planning as artistry. They have targeted various countries, and have Japan’s most successful robbery on their theft resume. Within a span of six years during the 21st century, the Pink Panthers have burglarized 120 stores in twenty different countries
In 1993, the gang gained prominence when they stole an $800,000 diamond from a jeweler in London. The name “Pink Panther” was awarded to the thieves by Interpol after they hid the diamond in a jar of face cream resembling an act from the film: “Return of the Pink Panther.” Their attention to detail and efficient execution of their plans is the reason behind their high success rate. For example, before a heist in Biarritz, the gang coated a bench adjacent to the jewelry store in fresh paint to deter people from sitting on – a clever way to keep away potential witnesses to the heist.
Although the Pink Panthers are not only known for their successful rate of robberies. They have also been notarized for their daring break-ins as well as their creative escapes. For example, in St. Tropez they burglarized a store dressed in flowery shirts and then escaped on a speed boat. In another one high-profile heist, the gang drove a pair of stolen limousines through a window into a Dubai mall, taking watches and other valuables worth over $12.5 million.
In another robbery, they dressed up as women and stole over $100 million worth of jewelry from a Harry Winston store in Paris, using Mission Impossible-style prosthetic make-up as a disguise. The most interesting feature of the Pink Panthers is that they do not use weapons. Many of their heists are below 45 seconds, and are done without the use of guns – this leaves the civilians around them untouched. This is truly a considerate group of thieves: why hurt anyone that has nothing to do with the heist?
The Pink Panthers are such a secretive group of thieves that only continues to expand throughout Eastern Europe and make record breaking heists. Although several gang members have been imprisoned, the identity of the majority of the members still remains questionary. Interpol is having trouble dealing with the organization.
How can you catch someone that you do not know really exists? The alleged leader of the gang, Dragan Mikic, was arrested in the early 2000′s. However, in true Pink Panther fashion Dragan escaped from prison in 2005. He scaled a rope ladder while Pink Panthers fired machine guns at the prison wall. Thus, Dragan completed a successful escape. He has been on the run ever since.
The group is thought to consist of over two hundred members. Therefore, it is safe to say that a majority of their heists have been successful and many of the members have simply gotten away with their crimes. Their total haul is believed to be in the billions of dollars.
The real Bling Ring? Life imitates art at Cannes as expensive jewellery is stolen
Or should that be life imitating art imitating life? Either way, thousands of pounds worth of jewellery has been stolen at Cannes Film Festival, around the same time that The Bling Ring premiered, a film about a gang stealing thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.
Surely this is a particularly elaborate PR stunt I hear you cry? Not so, with French police confirming the burglary, which took place at a Novotel hotel room.
A safe was ripped off the wall and carried away, according to police sources, its $1m (£650,ooo) contents belonging to Swiss jeweller Chopard.
The jewellery was intended to be loaned to celebrities attending the annual film festival.
The Bling Ring is based on a Vanity Fair article that profiled a gang of teenagers who immersed themselves in celebrity life before using the opportunities it presented to steal expensive jewels and possessions from stars, with Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and more allegedly being stung.
The BBC reports that the robbery has all the hallmarks of a classic Riviera heist.
Cannes jewel heist: Notorious 'Pink Panthers' gang suspected of million-dollar raid
Detectives in the South of France believe a mob called the Pink Panthers – who have targeted the awards ceremony before – were behind yesterday’s theft of gems worth over £656,000.
The daring raid was carried out right under the noses of detectives as the jewels were stolen from a hotel directly opposite Cannes’ main police station.
The necklaces, bracelets and other valuable pieces, were destined to be worn by celebrities including British model Cara Delevingne, singer Cheryl Cole and actress Carey Mulligan.
It is believed the crime ring targeted a room at the Novotel, where the gems were being kept in a safe by an employee of Swiss luxury jewellers Chopard.
The metal strongbox was ripped from the wall at around 5am yesterday morning.
The female employee staying in the room was yesterday being quizzed by detectives, but has not been arrested.
The woman had a meal out with friends and colleagues on Thursday evening until the early hours.
A police source on the French Riviera yesterday revealed: “The room was said to be empty.”
Commandant Bernard Mascarelli, of the Nice police force, said the safe must have been hidden from view as it left the second-floor room.
Detectives suspect the jewels have been transported to a safe house or yacht in the Mediterranean harbour or may even have been shipped to another country already.
Forces across Europe were last night placed on high alert for any information linked to the theft.
Chopard is one of the Cannes Film Festival’s key sponsors.
It designs the prestigious Palme d’Or award handed out to the director of the best film at each year’s event.
The firm yesterday declined to comment on the theft, but as police combed the hotel and scrutinised CCTV footage for clues, sources speculated that the Pink Panthers were behind the heist.
The crack gang of thieves, responsible for over £253million worth of jewellery thefts since 1999, has been linked to several previous raids on Cannes’ boutiques and hotels.
Many take place while celebs are walking the red carpet at the annual festival, where stars this year included supermodel Cindy Crawford and Hollywood actress Julianne Moore – who wore a Chopard ring to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Great Gatsby premiere.
Some detectives suspect the gang may have watched last year’s glittering event as they planned for yesterday’s heist.
It bears some resemblance to the plot of movie The Bling Ring, which was premiered the same night as the raid.
The crime drama, starring Harry Potter actress Emma Watson and directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on a true story about teenagers who use the internet to track celebs so they can raid their homes.