27 Jul 2013

Jewel thief extracted from prison

7:05 am on 27 July 2013

Armed men have broken a member of a gang of jewel thieves out of a Swiss prison.

Police said on Friday that Bosnian gang member Poparic Milan escaped the jail in the canton of Vaud on Thursday night, along with another prisoner, after men in two vehicles forced their way through a gate and fired at prison guards.

Milan, 34, was serving a sentence of six years and eight months for robbing a jewellery store in Neuchatel in 2009.

The gang has staged about 340 robberies on luxury stores in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States since 1999, taking worth more than 330 million euros of goods ($US436.77 million), according to Interpol.

In one raid in a shopping mall Dubai, two cars were driven through the window of a jewellery store in 2007, and items worth 11 million euros were taken in a raid lasting less than a minute.

The following year, the group took items worth up to 85 million euros after entering the Harry Winston jewellers in central Paris disguised as women.