News of a Robbery – Passive Voice

Since we have been studying Passive Voice, our teacher Pilar asked us to look for a news of a crime and to find passive forms and vocabulary connected to crimes.

This news is about a diamond robbery carried out on February 18th in Belgium. I chose it because my father is Belgian and because when it happened, I remember him talking about it as a very professional and kind of «movie» robbery.

31 arrested over £32m diamond robbery at Brussels airport

Police arrest 24 people in Belgium, six in Switzerland, and one in France said to have taken part in £32m raid in February


The speed and ease with which the diamond robbery was carried out has raised questions about security at Zaventem airport, Belgium. Photograph: Bruno Fahy/AFP/Getty Images

A Europewide manhunt following a daring diamond robbery in Brussels has resulted in 31 arrests in three countries.

Belgian police said the co-ordinated operations on Wednesday ended with 24 people held in raids across Belgium, six in Switzerland, and one in France in relation to the eight-man heist at Brussels’s main airport in February which netted an estimated £32m worth of uncut gems.

Police said some of the diamonds were recovered in Switzerland, while many of the arrests in Belgium concerned individuals known to authorities as members of Brussels’s criminal underworld.

«At least 10 of the men arrested in Belgium were known to the justice authorities, mainly for armed attacks. They were part of the Brussels criminal milieu,» said a Brussels police spokesman, Jean-Marc Meilleur. «We’re assuming that the man arrested in France is one of the perpetrators of the attack.»

The robbery was carried out with precision and speed on the evening of 18 February and appeared to have been carried out with detailed insider knowledge.

A Helvetica Airways passenger plane was gearing up for take-off as the mainly uncut stones from Antwerp, the world’s diamond trading centre half an hour’s drive away, were loaded into the luggage hold from a Brinks security van.

The gang of eight masked and heavily armed men cut through the security fencing near the Swiss plane and also opened a nearby gate. They drove up in two black vehicles with blue police lights flashing, held the plane and Brinks staff at gunpoint, quickly opened the luggage hold, took 121 packets of diamonds and rapidly made off.

The heist took 15 minutes without a shot being fired. One of the vehicles used in the robbery, a stolen Mercedes taxi, was later found burnt out and abandoned. The other, an Audi, bore a French number plate.

The ease and speed with which the robbery was carried out has raised questions about security at Zaventem airport, outside Brussels.

The diamonds, bound for India via Zurich, were mainly uncut, meaning they carried no certification, making them harder to trace and easier to sell on.

The Frenchman held on Wednesday was arrested under a European arrest warrant and the Belgians are requesting his extradition, although it is not clear if the same applies to the six arrests in Switzerland.