Two 'Pink Panthers' to stand trial

2013-02-12 20:36
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Geneva - Two Serbian alleged members of the "Pink Panther" gang of international jewel thieves are to face trial in Switzerland for heists there, police said on Tuesday.

One of the two, a 34-year-old arrested in Turkey on an international warrant, will be extradited to Switzerland to stand trial, Swiss police said in a statement.

He is accused of the armed robbery of a watch and jewellery store in the northern city of Schaffhausen in March 2011.

The haul, worth around $1.96m, has never been recovered.

The second Serb, aged 37, was arrested in Montenegro and extradited to Switzerland last year.

He allegedly acted as the getaway driver in both the Schaffhausen robbery and an April 2010 heist in the south-western Swiss city of Lausanne.

The thieves in the Lausanne robbery made off with a loot of watches and jewellery worth $545 000, which has also never been found.

Members of the Pink Panthers were drawn from paramilitary circles in the former Yugoslavia.

The gang was given its name after British detectives found a diamond ring hidden in a jar of face cream, echoing an incident in Peter Sellers' 1963 comedy The Pink Panther.

The smash-and-grab crime group is known to have stolen jewellery worth hundreds of millions of dollars in nearly 30 countries over the past decade.

Once seemingly untouchable, the gang has faced setbacks over recent years, with members arrested in a number of other countries including France, Greece, Italy and Japan.

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