Saturday, November 26, 2005

Diamond Exhibition Closes Early Because of Robbery Threats

A major diamond exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London was closed early after the organizers were warned of a potential robbery plot. Scotland Yard reported public safety was at risk if the exhibition stayed open for another three months as planned.

One of the major attractions at the event was the De Beers Millennium Star - a stunning 203 carat Pear Shape diamond. The Millenium Star was once the target of thieves during the famous Millennium Dome heist in 2000.

Scotland Yard sources said the most substantial difference between the two robbery plans was that in 2000, detectives were following the gang and were able to isolate the area of the Dome when they struck. The robbers were caught red-handed. This time the police did not know the time or details of the planned robbery.

"At the Dome we were always in control," a Yard source said. "But if we don't know the time or method, we can't take the gang out at our agreed and controlled location. There is therefore an unacceptable risk. We would be very strongly criticised if we had let it happen and, say, a child died in the cross-fire. We can watch everyone entering but we don't know whether the next one will be a robber. We could have had a hostage situation."