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On Tuesday morning, Marian Bies-de Wolf used to be running at TEFAF, the arena’s pre-eminent nice artwork and antiquities gala’s, when she noticed a bunch of fellows operating via its corridors.

It used to be a bizarre sight, she stated in a phone interview, since “no one runs at TEFAF,” which is held yearly in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Then issues were given stranger, Ms. Bies-de Wolf stated, as the boys pulled out a heavy object and “began bashing up” a tumbler case within the subsequent sales space, which belonged to the London jewellery broker Symbolic & Chase. Ms. Bies-de Wolf may now not see if the boys took the rest, she stated; after anyone shouted that the thieves had a gun, she ran away.

A number of hours after the theft, it used to be nonetheless unclear what the thieves had stolen. The Dutch police stated in a information unlock that 4 males had taken jewellery, however gave no additional knowledge. Two males from Belgium were arrested and their doable involvement used to be being investigated, it added, whilst a seek for people hooked up to the robbery used to be ongoing.

Wim Coenen, a spokesman for the Dutch police in Limburg, the area that covers Maastricht, stated in a phone interview that he may now not remark additional or state whether or not any jewellery were recovered.

A spokesman for Symbolic & Chase declined to remark at the incident.

TEFAF, sometimes called the Eu Tremendous Artwork Truthful, is likely one of the international’s longest-running artwork gala’s that specialize in nice artwork and antiquities. The present version, its thirty fifth, opened on Saturday and runs via Thursday.

This yr’s tournament options 242 sellers, amongst them Symbolic & Chase. In line with its Instagram feed, Symbolic & Chase had a mess of things on show on the truthful together with diamond rings, and an intricate, Eastern-inspired gold bracelet.

TEFAF’s organizers didn’t point out the truthful had skilled a theft on social media. In a submit on Twitter they stated that the truthful used to be “briefly evacuated because of an incident,” and used to be “nonetheless open to guests and exhibitors.”

But occasions appeared extra dramatic to witnesses. James Butterwick, a British broker, stated via telephone that he used to be simply yards from the theft when it took place. Mr. Butterwick stated he walked out of some other sales space to peer a person seeking to wreck a tumbler case.

A Dutch truthful customer picked up a vase of plant life and attempted to confront the robbers, Mr. Butterwick added, just for one of the vital thieves to tug out a what looked to be a gun, which he waved at onlookers. “Issues took a little bit of a flip for the more serious,” Mr. Butterwick stated.

Mr. Butterwick, whose account used to be corroborated via video photos of the theft posted on social media, stated the development lasted about 30 seconds. He didn’t see what the robbers stole, he added, however they looked to be “after particular pieces.”

When he entered the truthful, Mr. Butterwick stated, safety staff on the front “took a detailed have a look at you,” and checked luggage, although no person needed to stroll via steel detectors or used to be patted down.

He added that he didn’t see any safety guards confront the robbers. TEFAF stated in an e mail remark that “the truthful’s safety groups labored briefly to disarm an culprit,” and the Dutch police have been on web site inside of mins. “No one used to be injured throughout the incident,” the TEFAF remark added.

This isn’t the primary time TEFAF has been hit via a theft. In 2008, thieves stole a diamond necklace price about $1.8 million from the truthful; in 2010, a hoop and necklace price about $1.3 million have been stolen from a sales space run via Hancocks, some other London jewellery broker.

Hancocks didn’t reply to a request for an interview on Tuesday.

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