Thieves Used Heavy Duty Drill to Break 6.5-Foot Jewelry Vault in London Heist, Police Say

The scene left by the thieves is “chaotic,” a detective said.

ByLOUISE DEWAST
April 09, 2015, 11:10 AM

LONDON — -- Thieves used a heavy duty Hilti DD35 drill to break into in a 6.5-foot vault made of concrete during a heist this week in London's Hatton Garden jewelry district, investigators said today.

Once inside the vault in the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Limited building over the holiday weekend, up to 70 safety deposit boxes were broken into and their contents stolen, Scotland Yard Flying Squad Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson told reporters Thursday. While police are not yet providing details of the items stolen, it is believed that diamonds and gold were part of the haul.

The scene left by the thieves is “chaotic,” the detective said.

“The vault is covered in dust and debris, and the floor is strewn with discarded safety deposit boxes and numerous power tools, including an angle grinder, concrete drills and crowbars," said Johnson.

The detective gave details on how the operation happened.

"There was no sign of a forced entry to the outside of the building,” Johnson said. "The thieves have disabled the communal lift on the second floor and then used the lift shaft to climb down into the basement."

PHOTO: Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson of the Flying Squad, speaks to journalists outside Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd following last weekend's burglary in London, April 9, 2015.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson of the Flying Squad, speaks to journalists outside Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd following last weekend's burglary in London, April 9, 2015.
Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Officers are still in the process of identifying the owners of the safety deposit boxes. Using forensics and by examining CCTV, Scotland Yard is also working on identifying the thieves.

Hatton Garden is a district of London famous for being the largest jewelry quarter in the U.K. specialized in the diamond trade. The heist was reported early Tuesday as jewelers opened for business.

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