Where is the fifth accomplice of diamond thieves?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MUMBAI - Mystery shrouds the disappearance of a fifth accomplice - a Venezuelan - who was part of the group that carried out the daring daylight heist of diamonds worth Rs.6.6 crore from an international exhibition Monday, officials said.

The presence of the missing link - identified as Perez Hender Valmore - came to the fore after interrogation of his four other accomplices, three Mexicans and a fellow-Venezuelan, who were Thursday remanded to police custody till Sep 4.

Valmore’s Houdini act has brought some chilling realities to the fore, which the Mumbai police are now probing.

Besides having deep local contacts, Valmore is suspected to be the leader of the group, moving around with multiple identities and apparently part of a professional international mafia, or a faction of it, and he had also kept most of the heist booty with him, officials said.

Though the four prime culprits were brought back from Dubai in less than four days after the heist, Valmore’s sudden disappearance from Dubai has embarrassed the police.

Confirming the development, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said this evening that “a look-out notice is being issued against Valmore.”

Late on Monday, Valmore managed to slip in 1,641 pieces of diamonds in the pocket of his jacket and packed it in a DHL courier for Rome, which he deposited at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Suspecting that the stolen booty may have been hidden in the parcels at the airport, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had searched all the parcels and recovered the one with the jacket containing the diamonds.

Police also recovered 245 diamonds from the other four associates who are in their custody now. They are: a Mexican woman, Guerrero Lugo Elvia Grissel, two other Mexicans Gonzalez Maldonado Mauricio, and Campos Molan Elias and a Venezuelan, Gutierez Orlando.

With these recoveries, Roy said that the police have recovered almost the entire stolen booty, and the process of valuation and grading is currently underway.

Valmore was scheduled to go to Hamburg but, inexplicably, changed his flight in Dubai, while his other associates had boarded the same connecting flight to Hamburg from where they were deplaned later by the Dubai police.

The group of five was expected to finally travel from Hamburg to Mexico, but Valmore managed to give the slip to the authorities.

Though authorities continue to be tight-lipped, they do not rule out the possibility of Valmore being holed up in Dubai or having fled that country under a different identity.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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