Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

'Pink Panther' jewel thief escapes

Adrian Albrecht, left, and Milan Poparovic who escaped from a Swiss prison after accomplices rammed a gate and fired at guards (AP)

A member of the notorious "Pink Panther" jewel thief gang has escaped from a Swiss prison after accomplices rammed a gate and fired at guards, police say.

Milan Poparic, 34, fled with fellow inmate Adrian Albrecht, 52, from the Orbe prison in the western canton (state) of Vaud late on Thursday.

Poparic, a Bosnian national, had been serving a sentence of six years and eight months for robbing a jewellery store in the Swiss city of Neuchatel in 2009.

Albrecht was serving a seven-year prison for various crimes including robbery, arson and money laundering.

Police said Poparic was affiliated to the Pink Panthers network, prime suspects in a series of spectacular thefts.

According to Interpol the group has targeted luxury watch and jewellery stores in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States, netting over 330 million euros (£284 million) since 1999.

Interpol has dubbed them the "Pink Panther" gang, recalling the 1963 film starring Peter Sellers as the bungling Inspector Clouseau, but it isn't known whether members themselves use that name.

The gang is believed to have a core membership of about 40 people, many of them from the Balkans.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz