Cyprus police have in their custody a member of the Pink Panthers, the infamous gang of well-dressed jewel thieves that have been staging spectacular heists for decades around the world.
The 37-year-old Serbian suspect, who was arrested in Skopje and handed over on Wednesday to Cypriot authorities, is being questioned about a number of burglaries and stick ups of high-end jewelry stores.
The Pink Panthers gang is estimated to have carried out over 150 robberies and stolen over 200 million euros in jewels. They got their cartoonish nickname after British police found a diamond ring buried in face cream, reminiscent of a scene in a Pink Panther film starring Peter Sellers.
According to Interpol, over the past decade the gang has grown to incorporate a wider alliance of criminals from across the Balkans, while the original members tended to be from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia dating back to the 1980’s.
The white-gloved, immaculately-dressed jewel thieves have a series of spectacular heists under their belt, but no deaths took place despite their gangster-like approach, amazing speed, and high precision worldwide.
In one case, Pink Panther members raided a Tokyo jewelry store where they were in and out in 36 seconds, managing to get away on bicycles with over 2 million euro worth of gems.
Interpol estimates that many members of the infamous gang are former military men with a violent past, while some are known to speak many languages and have in their possession identification documents from multiple countries, including many fake passports.
“We like to rob the rich who have everything, not only when they least expect it but also when they never can even imagine it,” a member who was arrested in the past told investigators.
Another pink panther once told anonymously a New York Times reporter that “when we go out, we dress nice, in suits.” [Kathimerini Cyprus]