Two Belgian nationals arrested on Tuesday after the armed robbery at the Tefaf art fair in Maastricht have denied all involvement, their lawyer has told reporters.
The two men were arrested in a grey car with Belgian plates on the A2 shortly after the robbery.
No jewels or weapons were found in the car, and their arrest is a misunderstanding, lawyer Stijn van Merm is quoted as saying, but he declined to say if they had been at the antiques fair itself.
‘We have seen the film [of the robbery] and we do not recognize our clients as being among the men in the images,’ he is quoted as saying by the AD.
Footage of the robbery shows four men, in jackets, caps and glasses, one of whom is trying to smash open a display case with a sledgehammer. One of the men waves a gun at people watching the attack, including one man who picked up a vase of flowers to throw at them.
— Henrik-Willem H⭕️fs (@HWHofs) June 28, 2022
Meanwhile, rumours abound about what, if anything, was stolen. According to one report, the robbers were after a very rare yellow diamond being sold by British company Symbolic & Chase.
— Rickert van der Vlies 🚲 (@vandervlies) June 29, 2022
According to the Telegraaf, the haul could include Cartier earrings worth €4.5 million. Photos of the smashed display case appear to show several empty spaces.
Un casse à la Tefaf Maastricht en pleine journée : des vitrines d’un stand de bijoux fracassé à la masse, deux truands menaçant avec des armes pour protéger leur complice. Ils se sont enfuis par le restaurant… pic.twitter.com/qY4ounavdf
— La Tribune de l’Art (@ltdla) June 28, 2022
All Dutch police have said so far is that the robbery took place at a jewelry stand and that ‘jewelry’ was stolen.
The Tefaf fine art fair runs until June 30 and attracts dealers and buyers from all over the world.
It is not the first time Tefaf has been targeted by thieves. In 2010, a pendant and ring with combined value of €860,000 was taken during the annual event. In 2008, thieves got away with a necklace valued at €1.2 million.
Stolen art expert Arthur Brand told the Telegraaf that the robbery was either carried out by ‘total amateurs or professionals who are convinced they will get away with it.’
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