Sherlock Holmes Story Inspires Jewelry Store Robbery in Russia

The plot of a Sherlock Holmes story was behind a large jewelry store heist in Russia.

Thieves bought the flat in St Petersburg (Russia’s second largest city after Moscow) from 74-year-old woman, which was next door to a jewelry shop, and then tunnelled through the walls to gain access to the jewelry shop.

The gang was reported to have made off with 300 gold and 200 silver items of jewelry, the cost of which is still being assessed. But likely it was enough to cover the costs of buying the apartment.

Although a burglar alarm went off twice security guards thought it was a false alarm because the doors were locked and the windows remained intact.

The theft mirrors almost exactly the outlandish heist in the short story The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1891. In the book, a pair of robbers digs up the basement of a shop in London to break into a bank vault next door. The shop owner is kept away from his premises after the same criminals give him a highly-paid job for a bogus company. But fictional detective foils their plans arrests the villains.

But no one has yet been arrested over the real-life raid. One St Petersburg policeman said: “Where was Sherlock when we needed him? The gang got away leaving no traces.”

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