After a spectacular armed robbery, the Maastricht European Fine Arts Fair, (TEFAF) was forced to close its doors on Tuesday. It is the most important international art, jewelry, and antiques fair. The symbol London jeweler
Limburg provincial police posted a statement on the national police website stating that they received a report about an armed robbery at TEFAF. They confirmed that no one was injured, but that the thieves did get their loot.
Four smartly dressed men were seen in a video that was posted to social media. One of them was armed with a sledgehammer and he smashed several display cases containing jewelery. The gun-wielding assailant appeared to be holding it and pointed it at anyone who tried to intervene. The thieves took the jewels out of the Congress Palace, where the fair is housed. They ran away without any security personnel and under the sound of the alarms.
TEFAF was open to the public on Saturday last. It is held every year in Maastricht in the south of Netherlands and features tens of thousands classic and contemporary art pieces, antiques, and jewelry. The exhibits span 7,000 years. Nearly 250 dealers in antiques and jewelers attend the fair each year, which attracts approximately 75,000 people. After two years of suspension due to the pandemic, TEFAF is celebrating its 35th anniversary.
TEFAF released a statement confirming that attendees were evacuated from the venue at 11:15 AM due to an "incident." The fair's security team quickly disarmed the criminal and police arrived on the scene in a matter of minutes. The organization stated that no one was hurt.
A spokesperson for the contest stated that strict security protocols had been established. "TEFAF has strong procedures in case of security breaches. They were strictly followed and all exhibitors, visitors and staff were evacuated safely. The fair is now open and working with authorities. This incident has been resolved, so no further statements will be made.
TEFAF has been the victim of other thefts in past. They took jewels in 2011 for an unknown value. The thieves also stole a pendant and a ring worth 860,000 euros the year before. In 2008, a EUR1.2 million diamond necklace disappeared.