'Pink Panther' escapes in armed Swiss prison break with fellow inmate

27.07.2013 02:40

Police in Switzerland hunted Friday
for two inmates who escaped in a prison
break staged by a pair of armed accomplices.
The two prisoners who escaped from Orbe
prison Thursday evening were named by the
Vaud canton's police department as serial
criminal Adrian Albrecht, 53, and Milan
Poparic, 34, a Bosnian national.
Poparic was jailed for robbery of a jewelry
store in Neuchatel and is part of the "Pink
Panthers" group, the police statement said.
According to the Interpol website, the Pink
Panthers are behind armed robberies
targeting high-end jewelry stores in Europe,
the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
Drag queens, fake beards and chocolates:
Notable diamond heists
The loosely associated network of criminals
has hundreds of members and is believed to
have stolen jewelry worth more than €300
million ($396 million) since 1999, it said.
Several inmates were exercising in an outside
area under the supervision of prison officers
and private security guards when the two
accomplices used vehicles to breach a gate
and barbed wire barriers around the prison
They brought two ladders to help Poparic and
Albrecht escape over the barbed-wire of the
prison yard, police said.
At the same time, the accomplices directed
bursts of automatic weapon fire toward the
prison officers and security guards to keep
them at bay.
The security personnel were able to take
cover and no one was hurt, police said. The
four men then torched one of the two
vehicles and drove off in the other, a gray-
colored vehicle.
Police patrols, canine teams and security
officers are combing the area for clues to
their whereabouts. The border guards and
French police are also involved in the hunt
for the four men, police said.
Orbe, a town in Switzerland's western Vaud
canton, or state, is not far from the French