WATCH: Gun and Sledgehammer Wielding Thieves’ Audacious Broad-Daylight Art Fair Heist

Dutch police officers stand guard at the entrance of the TEFAF Art Fair in Maastricht on J

Two men have been arrested while two others allegedly remain on the run after armed thieves conducted a daylight raid on a major European art fair.

Beauty was no longer in the eye of the beholder, but in the arms of a bandit on Tuesday morning, after a major European art fair was set upon by heavily armed thieves.

The European Fine Art Foundation’s (Tefaf) Maastricht usually annual fair had just returned to the country for the first time since the COVID pandemic began, with the invite-only event offering visitors the chance to see some of the finest creations from around the world.

However, one thing that eventgoers likely didn’t bank on was becoming embroiled in an armed heist, with four men entering wielding what appears to be a firearm and a sledgehammer in the hopes of stealing some of the valuable items on display.

De Telegraaf reports that the bandits targeted a display of London jeweller Symbolic & Chase, though it is unclear as of writing if anything was actually stolen.

Video of the event appears to depict one of the robbers smashing the glass of one exhibit, seemingly to gain access to what was inside, while another gun-toting vagabond brandished what appears to be a firearm.

One individual inside the building appears to try and disrupt the robbery with the help of a vase, but looks to have been quickly dissuaded after finding himself on the wrong end of what looks to be a gun.

Despite the broad daylight nature of the armed robbery, as well as claims seemingly backed up by footage online that some fairgoers were threatened with weapons, no injuries have been reported, and the fine art event remains ongoing.

Dutch police have since arrested two men — reportedly from Belgium — on the country’s A2 highway, though are reportedly still on the lookout for two other individuals.

The nature of the crime has meanwhile reportedly caught the eye of Dutch art crime detective, who said that while the raid appears similar to those perpetrated by criminals with links to Eastern Europe, the brazenness of the incident could just mean that those involved are “stupid”.

“There are gangs in Eastern Europe that have specialized in this method. Although it is also an option that the robbers are stupid,” he reportedly remarked.

“Tefaf is of course the most important art fair in the world,” he continued. “I suspect these guys have thought: ‘We’re going for the very best right away’.”

Meanwhile, the BBC have noted that this is not even the first time bandits have tried their luck at the event, with another London jeweller having a “pink sapphire platinum ring” reportedly looted by thieves at the fair in 2010.

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