Brazen 'Pink Panther' Heists Stir Ire, Admiration of Cops
European thieves renowned for suave, meticulous banditry
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2008 12:28 PM CST

(Newser) – A sophisticated cadre of bandits have deserted Serbian battlefields to invade the globe's finest boutiques, the New York Times reports, daringly swiping millions worth of jewels from luxury stores. Interpol has dubbed the crooks—thought to be about 200 ex-soldiers and their relatives from the former Yugoslavia—the Serbian Pink Panthers. “The modus was always the same,” says one Monaco officer.

“Very fast, very well-organized with a plurality of perpetrators, and violent, too.” This month in Paris, thieves dressed in drag snatched a cool $105 million in emeralds, rubies, and diamonds in mere minutes. In Biarritz, others craftily painted a bench to deter pedestrians from loitering in front of a nearby target. Invoking a line from their movie namesake, investigators admire the Panthers’ “unique flair for the dramatic.”