Crime

Smash-and-Grab Robbers Hit Booth at TEFAF: Watch the Video

CrimeJun 30, 2022

Smash-and-Grab Robbers Hit Booth at TEFAF: Watch the Video

The fair was evacuated temporarily Tuesday after four suspects smashed a showcase and stole jewelry from British jeweler Symbolic & Chase.

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands temporarily evacuated attendees Tuesday following an armed smash-and-grab robbery. Dutch police are still looking for the four suspects. (Image courtesy of TEFAF)
Maastricht, Netherlands—Attendees and exhibitors at the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands were temporarily evacuated Tuesday following an armed smash-and-grab robbery.

According to Dutch police, around 11:30 a.m. local time, four men, unmasked, approached the showcases of British jeweler Symbolic & Chase, an antiques dealer specializing in 20th century European fine jewelry and objets d‘art.

The robbery was captured on video by onlookers and shared via social media.

One video shows one of the suspects taking a sledgehammer from his bag and smashing the display case open before reaching in to grab jewels and stuff them into a bag. 

The other men stood guard, with at least one appearing to brandish a weapon and another appearing to spend the entire robbery trying to load his gun.

An onlooker reaches for a vase of flowers to presumably throw at the robbers but puts it down and backs away when one of the robbers appears to point a gun in his direction.

 
Shortly after the robbery, Dutch police arrested two suspects, a 22-year-old and a 26-year-old man, both from Belgium, whom they believed took part in the robbery, according to a press release from the department.

According to the AP, police released the two men Wednesday after an investigation cleared them. No additional arrests have been made.

“The robbery generated a lot of media attention. In the interest of [the] investigation, no more information can be released at this time,” said Dutch police.

 
TEFAF did not immediately address the robbery on its social media channels but did tweet Tuesday that the show was “temporarily evacuated due to an incident at the fair.”

“The situation is under control and the fair is still open to visitors and exhibitors,” it added.

On Wednesday, TEFAF said via a press release that security procedures were implemented immediately following the smash-and-grab.

“Dutch police were on site within minutes. Nobody was injured during the incident, which took place at a jewelry booth,” said TEFAF.

 
The company confirmed that jewelry was stolen but said it would not provide additional details at this time.

In an interview with the New York Times, fair attendee and robbery witness James Butterwick said though he couldn’t see what was stolen, it seemed the robbers were looking for “specific items.”

Symbolic & Chase did not respond to National Jeweler’s request for comment on the incident.

SEE: Some of the Jewels Symbolic & Chase Brought to TEFAF
Dutch police are interviewing witnesses and have received CCTV footage, said TEFAF. Forensic investigations have also been carried out at the MECC venue where TEFAF is being held.

The show will remain open through Thursday, June 30.

This year marked TEFAF’s first in-person fair in Maastricht since 2020. Organizers attempted to hold a 2021 edition, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19

 Related stories will be right here … 

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.
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