€300k down the tube: Thieves tunnel into Cologne jewelry store

€300k down the tube: Thieves tunnel into Cologne jewelry store
An unusual robbery has occurred in the German city of Cologne. A local jeweler opened his shop on Monday to discover a €300,000 diamond display gone – with a freshly-dug tunnel into his store from the basement of the shopping complex.

Toni Ucar, 57, owner of the Goldfinger shop in a busy part of the northern suburb of Chorweiler, Cologne, immediately called police when he saw a hole in the floor big enough for a person to fit in, local media reported.

Tunneling into a store and making off with such loot may have been the perfect robbery, but for a security industry worker who noticed and recorded the suspects near the shopping mall in the London Square area. The men looked suspicious, according to the witness, who has "an eye for something like this."

The mobile phone video was handed in to the police, but it remains unclear whether the images will soon be released for public searches.

"To have someone dig a tunnel from below the shop into a display case is a very unusual case," Cologne spokesperson Chritoph Gilles told the Local.

The thieves evidently first accessed a garbage room of a neighboring building. Then they managed to get into the basement through a trapdoor, and with a hammer drill they bored through the 20cm-thick cement and steel floor.

"There are security blinds on the shop's windows, so no one would have noticed anything until the shop opened up again," Gilles said.

The investigators are currently working at the scene – on the floor below, where the 20-meter-long tunnel used by the thieves begins.

The crime time frame lies between Saturday at 4pm when Ucar closed the shop and 9:14am on Monday morning, when he opened up again.

About two weeks ago, thieves also attempted a heist on Goldfinger, preferring to enter through the roof of the building. Although no witnesses reported any noise to the police, it proved to be unsuccessful.

“I was the whole Sunday there and didn’t notice anything unusual,” the owner of the opposite kiosk told Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper.

Nothing was stolen in that effort, with rain alerting Ucar to the suspicious hole in the roof.

Police regard the two cases as connected.