Thieves Drill into Basement of Bulgari Store in Rome, Escape With $535k Worth of Gems in Hollywood-Style Heist

By Jose Resurreccion

Jun 11, 2024 04:56 AM EDT

Thieves Drill into Basement of Bulgari Store in Rome, Escape With $535k Worth of Gems Hollywood-Style Heist
A stack of crates of products from the nearby Gucci store is waiting in front of the shop window of the famous jeweler Bulgari while the employees arrange the shop on May 15, 2020 in Rome, Italy.
(Photo : Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

A gang of thieves made a Hollywood-style heist at Bulgari's Rome store over the weekend by drilling into the basement before stealing around $535,000 worth of gems and escaping into the city's sewers in under 11 minutes. 

The Daily Mail reported that the robbers struck the store Saturday night (June 8) which was located at Via Condotti, near the Spanish Steps. The said street is the Italian capital's fashion center as other luxury brands like Dior, Gucci, Armani, and Hermes are also located there.

Hollywood-Style Heist

The Telegraph reported that the heist was allegedly premeditated as around three to five masked burglars made their way into the sewers underneath Rome at midnight before climbing through a hole they had drilled in the floor of the store. They also barricaded a side door police would use to enter the building. 

The burglars then snatched all of the watches and jewelry they could carry before escaping, triggering an alarm that alerted a private security firm, which then contacted police. 

Officers took seven minutes to arrive at the scene and another four to break down the barricaded door. 

The Times quoted local Italian media when they detailed that the crooks were able to evade police thanks to the barricaded door. 

Aside from a crowbar, the gang left virtually nothing, not even fingerprints as all of them wore gloves.

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Rome's Sewer Problem

According to Sotterranei di Roma head Marco Placidi, central Rome has a network of sewer tunnels that date back to Roman times, and is still in use to this day. 

He said that the sewers were "large enough to walk in" and could be passable because the water level there would be no more than 10 cm if it is not raining. 

Because of its vastness, Placidi added that it could not be properly mapped in full, which made it complicated where the robbers went. 

On the other hand, local retail association head Gianni Battistoni said that the sewer tunnels were like subway train stations, and criticized the police for abandoning its monthly checks on the sewer network. 

Meanwhile, another retailers association chief Romolo Guasco said they were deeply concerned with the latest theft of a jewelry store in Rome, calling on authorities to have better surveillance and security deterrence. 

READ MORE: Ex-Vatican Employee Arrested for Fraud in Sting Operation

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