Suspects in TEFAF Art Fair Heist come from the Balkans

Friday, May 31, 2024
Suspects in TEFAF Art Fair Heist come from the Balkans

On 28 June 2022, a jewellery heist took place in broad daylight at The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) at the MECC in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

The Netherlands Police announced that important progress had been made in the investigation. Two diamonds from the stolen necklace have been recovered.

One diamond was found in Israel, the other in Hong Kong. Both diamonds were seized for further investigation. The total value of the robbed jewellery amounts to tens of millions of dollars.

The investigation has made clear that one woman can also be linked to the heist as a suspect. Moreover, two other women came to the fore when they returned one of the rental vehicles to a car rental company near Frankfurt airport, Germany. They are not currently suspects in the criminal investigation into the heist. However, their role in returning the getaway vehicle is being investigated.

Before and after the heist, the suspects made use of rental vehicles. The police have since tracked down, seized, and forensically examined these vehicles. It was found that on 5 June 2022, a woman rented a vehicle from a car rental company near Frankfurt airport, Germany. This vehicle was a Kia Ceed. The vehicle was returned by two other women on 2 July 2022.

At Charleroi airport, Belgium, another vehicle was rented by one of the male suspects. This vehicle, an Opel Astra, was rented on 22 June 2022 and was returned to a car rental company in Vienna, Austria, by an unknown person on 1 July 2022. On 28 June 2022 – the day of the heist – both the Kia Ceed and the Opel Astra were parked on the carpark at Salernolaan in Maastricht, a few hundred metres from the event venue MECC.

It emerged that the rental vehicles were being used by the suspects throughout the rental period.

Investigation showed that prior to the heist speeding violations were committed in Germany with both cars. The speeding violations with the Kia Ceed took place in Neustadt on 6 June 2022, while the Opel Astra was caught speeding in Leverkusen on 26 June 2022. Camera footage is available for both speeding violations.

The suspects stayed in Belgium before and after the heist, including in Liège and Verviers. In Verviers, they stayed at a hotel and in Liège in accommodation rented via an online platform. Afterwards they fled to Serbia via Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and other countries.

The investigation team has leads that provide an increasingly clear picture of the whereabouts of the suspects before and after the heist, as well as where they may currently be staying. It was published previously that the suspects come from the Balkans. It has since become clear that they come from Serbia, more particularly from the town of Nis. It cannot be ruled out that the suspects are currently located there, or in Belgrade or the surrounding area.

Main Image :The woman in the passenger seat has been linked to the heist.

Stephanie Cime

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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