Police want jewel heist suspects on Interpol list

Police will shortly ask Interpol to put four foreign suspects on an international wanted list over a 3.5 billion yen daylight jewelry robbery in Tokyo in March, police sources said Tuesday.

The Metropolitan Police Department has obtained arrest warrants for the two men and two women, including two Serbo-Montenegrins and a Briton, on suspicion of robbery and inflicting injuries, the sources said.

The sources identified the four as a woman in her 20s, two men in their 30s and a woman in her 50s. The MPD plans to ask Interpol to put them on the wanted list after it has confirmed details of their identities.

Some of the four are believed to have been involved in a robbery in Europe five years ago, they said.

The robbery took place just before noon on March 5 in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district. A jewelry store clerk was slightly injured by pepper spray used by one of the robbers, police said.

The robbers apparently left Japan shortly after the heist.

The two men entered the Le Supre-Diamant Couture De Maki shop around 11:45 a.m. and allegedly stole 12 pieces of jewelry, including a 125-carat diamond necklace worth 3 billion yen that comprised 116 diamonds and had been the shop’s most prized item since it opened in 1991.

The two women are believed to have looked the shop over beforehand and to have acted as lookouts.

The robbers initially pretended to be customers, saying in English that they wanted to buy souvenirs. The two had made purchases at the store before the robbery, the police said.

The clerk guided one of the two to the third floor before being blinded with pepper spray and punched, the police said. The man then smashed a glass showcase with a hammer, took the gems and fled on a motorcycle.

Police have found that the four had been staying at a hotel in Tokyo before the robbery, and departed for Paris using forged passports shortly after the robbery, the sources said.

Interpol examined the fingerprints left in their hotel rooms, and one of the prints matched that of a man who had been on wanted list for a jewelry robbery that occurred five years ago in Europe, they said.

The police have also found that the hotel guests made frequent telephone calls to Sri Lanka during their stay, the sources said. Investigators suspect that the robbers might have been trying to sell the jewelry in Sri Lanka, known as a major jewelry producing country and home to a jewelry processing industry, they said.