The diamond thieves came pretty close to committing the perfect crime. They hatched the plan in Mexico several weeks ago, reports Mumbai Mirror.
Last week, they landed in Mumbai and kept a low profile. They scoped out the venue for the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) at Goregaon several times.
Then, on Monday night, with their exit strategy in place, they took off with stones worth Rs 6.6 crore.
What they didn't account for was some surprisingly snappy work by the Mumbai police.
Four foreign nationals -- three Mexicans and one Venezuelan - who stole diamonds worth Rs 6.6 crore from the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) in Goregaon on Monday, were arrested in Dubai within 10 hours of the heist.
It took some frenetic activity on part of the police to achieve that - scanning hours of IIJS CCTV footage, identifying suspects, roping in immigration and Interpol and involving some friends in Dubai.
According to Mumbai Crime Branch, the accused, including a woman, had come to Mumbai a week ago as representatives of Kape Watchmaker, a Mexico-based diamond company. The accused were identified as Compo Molan Elias, 39, Gonzalea Mal Donado, 24, Guerrero Lugo Elvia Grissel, 24 and Gutterez Orlando, 35.
On Monday, the last day of the show, the accused went to the kiosk of Salumi Hong Kong, a Hong Kong-based diamond company. Two men called the attendant manning the front desk out and started talking to him in Spanish.
“In the chaos, another man entered the store and stole a few packets,” said an officer from Goregaon police station. The theft took place at about 3.30 pm but the attendants realised the diamonds were gone only at 5.30 pm.
There was further delay as they initially thought the gems were misplaced. By the time the police was informed it was 8.30 pm. The sequence of events ended with the Dubai police fishing out 75 packets of diamonds from the stomachs of the accused.
Then onwards, however, officers of Unit 12 of Mumbai Crime Branch under Additional Commissioner Deven Bharti and PI Milind Khetle covered lost ground swiftly.
“The kiosk CCTV footage of a man and woman going towards the store section was not clear. We compared it with footage from the hall. We tallied the shirt colour, form and height of the suspects,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Since entry to the show was by invitation only, the suspects were registered and IIJS had their photographs, names and passport numbers. By 12.30 am, the police fished out these details. “We contacted immigration, which informed us they left by a 10.30 flight for Hamburg via Dubai. We got in touch with our contacts in Dubai police, who apprehended them in the transit lounge at 1.30 am,” said the officer.
There were surprises in store, though. Dubai police couldn't find diamonds on their person or baggage. The cops asked Dubai police to check if the diamonds had been swallowed.
Dubai police took an X-ray of the accused and there they were - 75 tiny packets in the stomachs of the four accused. “They were then given laxatives to flush out the stones. All the diamonds, weighing 887 carats, have been recovered,” said the officer.
Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy said, “We are now in touch with Dubai authorities to get them to Mumbai as soon as possible. Non-bailable warrants have been issued against them. We suspect this is a professional international gang.”