Jewel thieves in daring gem heist

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Cyprus police are searching for three Russian-speaking suspects who made off with €180,000 5k diamond from a swanky jewellery shop in Limassol’s tourist area of Yermasoyia.

Talking to state radio CyBC, Limassol police spokesperson Marinos Vassiliou said the owner of the Yermasoyia shop reported that at around 4 pm on Monday, two men and a woman stole the diamond after replacing it with a fake.

Vassiliou said the trio arrived at the shop claiming they wished to buy the diamond, previously viewed by one of the men, on a separate occasion.

Police are searching for the suspects at hotels and other tourist accommodation units.

He appeared confident that the suspects would not be able to leave the country, as their photos were published while airport authorities were notified.

The Hollywood-type heist scenario was put into operation three weeks ago when one of the men visited the Limassol jewellery shop, asking to see the store’s diamond collection.

An employee laid out the gems for the man, who, after inspecting the diamonds, left, promising to be back.

He returned on Monday with a woman and another man, who were communicating in Russian between themselves.

The man asked to see the diamond collection again, while the other two drew the employee’s attention by enquiring about gold necklaces.

After purchasing a €400 gold chain, the three suspects left the store without purchasing anything from the diamond collection.

The employee, suspicious of their movements, had tested the diamond collection with special equipment to find the €180,000 diamond had been switched with a fake.

CCTV footage captured one of the suspects switching the diamond with a fake he had in his right hand.

Upon discovering the theft, the employee called the police.

The photos of the three suspects, still at large, have been given to the media by the police.

They are described as Caucasian and presented themselves as Russian speakers, although police said this could not be used as a definitive.

Police are asking anyone with any information to contact Limassol CID at 25-805057, their nearest police station or the citizen’s line at 1460.