Another "Pink Panther" jewel thief behind bars

The Pink Panther gang member arrives at the Lausanne court. Keystone

A second member of the notorious international gang of jewel thieves hailing from the Balkans, known as the Pink Panthers, has been jailed in Switzerland in the space of a month.

This content was published on October 25, 2013 - 18:16 and agencies

A 38-year-old Serbian national was handed a seven-year prison term by a court in Lausanne after being found guilty of taking part in two heists. Last month a court in Geneva jailed a Montenegrin member of the gang for nine years.

Switzerland has proved a favourite spot for the gang’s fast-paced jewel snatches in recent years that often involve intimidation with the use of firearms.

The Serbian was a getaway driver during two raids in Schaffhausen in March 2010 and on the Lausanne five-star Beau-Rivage Palace hotel a year later, the court heard. Some CHF2.3 million ($2.6 million) of jewels were stolen in the raids.

The gang has made a string of headlines in Switzerland recently not just for the heists but for two spectacular prison breakouts earlier this year.

Some of the inmates have since been recaptured, but one is still the subject of extradition proceedings in France.

The Pink Panther gang, named after the 1960s films featuring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, is believed to have been formed after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and has carried out a string of thefts in Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

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