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Thieves make off with diamonds worth millions

Associated Press - Dec. 2, 2002

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The museum exhibition promised to show visitors how to tell real diamonds from fakes - but the thieves didn't need any tips.

Museum officials said Monday the intruders knew exactly what to take, and walked off with millions of dollars worth of gems.

The thieves broke into the Museon, a science museum, either Sunday night or Monday morning and stole necklaces, tiaras and precious gems on loan from other museums and from private collections.

Museum director Bert Molsbergen said the thieves took only the most valuable items in the exhibition. Police were still compiling the list, he said, but the value of the jewels taken was several million dollars.

The exhibition, which opened Oct. 5, was protected by 24-hour cameras and sensors.

The museum billed the show as a demonstration of the diamond industry from rough stone to magnificent jewelry. It offered glimpses into the mining process, industrial uses and valuations. Visitors could also have their own diamonds appraised.

Officials said the exhibition may close because of the theft. It was due to run until next March.

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