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Police release suspects held in Tefaf jewellery heist

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The two Belgians who were arrested in Maastricht on Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of involvement in a theft at the Tefaf art fair will be released from custody on Wednesday. They are no longer considered suspects, police said.

Police claim that the two people, aged 22 and 26, acted in such a suspicious manner after the robbery that there was sufficient cause to arrest them at that time for involvement in the art theft. Shortly after the robbery, the two were conspicuously close to the Koning Willem-Alexandertunnel, an underground portion of the A2 in Maastricht, police said. In order to be able to detain them, the tunnel was shut down. That caused long traffic jams on the A2 that stretched for several kilometers.

With the release of the two Belgians, police no longer have any suspects in custody for the violent crime. Police say they are looking for at least four suspects. The Tefaf robbery was carried out by four men, but may involve others, a police spokesperson said.

Video footage taken by witnesses showed four men dressed in sport coats and slacks, with three of them wearing flat caps. One person was seen smashing a glass display with a sledgehammer, and a brick may also have been used to bash a whole into the case. One witness overheard a worker state that a 27 million euro necklace was stolen. others posited that a pair of Cartier earrings valued at 4 million euros was taken in the heist. Neither authorities nor Tefaf have remarked on the record about the value of the stolen goods.

Local media outlet L1 reported earlier in the day that no jewellery was found during a search of the Belgians’ vehicle. They were not believed to have even attended the fair, the broadcaster reported Wednesday morning.

The spokesperson was unable to provide more information on Wednesday. The police are now calling on visitors who may have recorded video footage with a dashcam to make those images available to the authorities.

“The Tefaf is a fair for people with higher-end cars, who often have a dashcam. The people may not have noticed the robbery themselves, but they may unsuspectingly have an image of the suspects. We are also asking people from a neighboring residential area whether they have images.”

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