Croa­tia ar­rests four sus­pects in Venice heist of In­dian jewels

Millennium Post - - World -

ZA­GREB: Croa­t­ian po­lice have ar­rested four sus­pects in the brazen theft last Jan­uary of pre­cious In­dian jewels from the famed Al Thani Col­lec­tion that were on dis­play in a Vene­tian palace.

Four men, all Croa­t­ians rang­ing in age from 43 to 60, were ar­rested Wed­nes­day af­ter a months-long joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion with Ital­ian po­lice, Croa­t­ian po­lice said Thurs­day in a state­ment.

The force did not re­veal whether the jewels had been re­cov­ered and Ital­ian po­lice had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the heist.

The Croa­t­ian state­ment said one of the ar­rested sus­pects is be­lieved to be linked to sev­eral ma­jor heists in Eu­rope and the no­to­ri­ous, multi­na­tional "Pink Pan­ther" gang of thieves. He is also sought by Switzer­land over a 2011 jew­ellery heist, po­lice said.

Croa­t­ian po­lice also said fifth mem­ber of the gang, a 54-year-old Ser­bian ci­ti­zen sought on a Euro­pean war­rant, was ar­rested Thurs­day on the bor­der cross­ing with Ser­bia. It was not clear if he was linked to the Venice heist.

The thieves made off with a brooch and a pair of ear­rings worth an es­ti­mated 3 mil­lion by mix­ing with the crowd on the fi­nal day of the ex­hi­bi­tion at Venice's Doge's Palace, one of the city's top tourist des­ti­na­tions on the edge of St. Mark's Square.

The stolen jewels were not the top high­lights of the Al Thani Col­lec­tion, which in­cludes gems dat­ing from the time of the Mughal Empire.

The col­lec­tion in­cludes 270 pieces of In­dian and In­di­an­in­spired jew­ellery and pre­cious stones, span­ning 400 years from the Mughal pe­riod to the present.

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