Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sensational Heists

Amsterdam's Million-Dollar Airport Heist

Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

On February 25, 2005, two men dressed as KLM workers entered the cargo terminal of Amsterdams Schiphol Airport in a stolen KLM car. The men audaciously intercepted a truck carrying millions of dollars worth of diamonds, which were on route to a Tulip Air plane bound for Antwerp, reported. Armed with pistols, they forced the two drivers of the truck to lie on the ground, before casually driving away with the valuables. Although the police have not yet confirmed the precise value of the stolen goods, the amount has been estimated at around 75 million euros. If the estimation were accurate, the heist would mark the largest diamond robbery ever recorded.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

During a full-scale investigation, the police speculated that the robbers likely received inside help.

According to, the culprits knew what time to strike on Friday and what truck they should hijack. Moreover, they were able to gain access to a secured freight area, which required a special entry card.

The hijacked truck was later recovered in an industrial section of Hoofdorp, a town located a short distance from the airport. Witnesses had seen the two robbers park the vehicle and get inside a waiting red Renault Express, driven by a third man. The Renault, which was stolen in Amsterdam days before the robbery, was found burned a month later in the town of Diemen.

White van used in robbery
White van used in robbery

The robbery sparked serious concerns about the airports security, particularly around the freight terminal. According to a March 2005 article, KLM made grave errors in guarding the transport of the diamonds and tried to shift responsibility and cover up the exact circumstances of the incident to escape blame. But the airline suggested that they did all they could, considering the circumstances. 

Clearly, the security was not tight enough on the day of the robbery. The freight area was also not properly secured 15 days prior to the incident because one of the criminals allegedly carried out a test run for the robbery by allegedly stealing a blue KLM vehicle, reported in a March 22 article. The man was never caught, but his description was said to match that of one of the men seen during the actual heist.

Since the theft, the airport and KLM have taken significant measures to strengthen security. More armed military guards have been assigned to safeguard the area and screening of those who enter the airfield has also been enhanced. These are just some of the many changes implemented to ensure that a robbery or any other breech of security never happens again at the airport.

Thus far, none of the trucks contents have been found. The investigation is still ongoing and the police have asked anyone who might have new information concerning the robbery to step forward. Every day new tips come in concerning the crime, leading investigators to believe that it is only a matter of time before the diamonds resurface and the thieves are caught.


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