Employee accused of stealing diamonds from Dutch firm

Police in Amsterdam were hunting an employee of a Dutch diamond firm on Thursday, suspecting him of having stolen gems worth $8 million by walking out of the company’s offices carrying them in a cardboard box, Reuters reported.

The 25-year-old man arrived for work at Amsterdam’s Gassan Diamonds on Saturday with a box, saying it contained a new microwave oven, the company’s director told Reuters. “He came with a microwave in the box, but he left with the diamonds in the box instead of the microwave,” said Benno Leeser, director of the 56-year-old family-run firm.

Shocked staff discovered the theft on Sunday. “When they opened the safe, there was nothing there any more,” Leeser said, adding that the entire stock held at that branch had gone. The theft was not made public until Thursday.

The man, a former army cook who had worked for the firm since April, had since vanished without trace. Leeser said he had checked his credentials very thoroughly before hiring him.

The diamonds-which were not insured-had a total sale value of some 20 million guilders ($8 million), and accounted for around a third of the company’s total stock, Reuters reported.

“I feel terrible,” Leeser told Reuters. “I’m completely astonished.”