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Alleged member of 'Pink Panther' jewel thieves arrested in France

Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:12 AM

NIMES, France, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A man believed to be a member of the gang of "Pink Panther" jewelry thieves has been arrested in the south of France, police said.

The 47-year-old was being held pending extradition to Switzerland, Le Figaro reported. He was arrested Monday at his home near Montpellier, police said.

He escaped with four other inmates from a prison in Lausanne, Swiss authorities say.

The Pink Panthers are believed to be responsible for robberies of high-end jewelry in European cities including London, Geneva and Monaco as well as Dubai and Tokyo. Police said they do not believe the man arrested this week is behind a recent rash of jewel thefts on the Riviera.

The gang is believed to have 220 members, most of them ex-soldiers from the former Yugoslavia. The man detained in France was convicted in absentia in Macedonia in 1998 for a crime committed there five years earlier.

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