What could be stolen from your building in 3 minutes... confidential information? Artwork? A safe? 


On Monday, February 18, masked thieves stole $50 million in diamonds in a blitzkrieg-style heist at the Brussels Airport in Belgium in just three short minutes.

Using two vehicles, a team of heavily armed robbers were able to "breach" the security gates and offload diamonds, as well as an unspecified amount of gold and platinum, from the cargo hold of a stationery aircraft that was loading passengers. This flight, a simple passenger plane from Brussels to Zurich operated by Helvetic Airlines, was transporting part of the daily $200 million in stones entering and exiting the country for the Antwerp World Diamond Center. While most of the details have yet to be released, the sheer speed at which this heist was executed tells us a few things. First, the thieves may have had help from an employee or former employee. Second, there was significant knowledge of the diamond's daily flight schedule. And finally, the loaded cargo was insufficiently protected for the window of time in which it took for the passengers to load the plane.

While we have no doubt that the authorities will eventually catch the perpetrators and am thankful that no one was hurt in such a brazen escapade, it's important to learn from such an extreme example of theft while it is a topic of conversation. After all, it's the extreme for which we must always prepare. First, the questions: Were security cameras in place and operational? Were background checks performed on every employee and security guard? Were they issued firearms? Was any sensitive information leaked from the Antwerp World Diamond Center? Until more information is released, we are only able to learn from the obvious. 

The fact that such sensitive cargo was placed on a passenger plane is not a new concept; however, it should be noted that anyone with Internet access had the ability to at least narrow down the flights at which to focus their efforts. With a simple piece of inside information, reducing a handful of flights down to one becomes very easy. A simple change of this regularity may have averted such a disaster. In this case, occasionally using a flight with a layover in another airport, utilizing an armored car or even smaller shipments may have been just the thing to keep a would-be thief from executing such a flawless maneuver. While it may cost a bit more, the breaking of habits could have been the ounce of prevention for the pound of cure. Every day we engage in habits. Habits that can be learned and ultimately exploited. 

The 3 minutes that the diamonds were left unprotected was all it took for them to be stolen. What could feasibily be taken from your company in that time? Is there a schedule that a person could access that would clue them into a window of opportunity? Think about the most extreme situation that could happen... Helicopters lowering criminals... Escapes by jet boat. In this particular scenario, (did we mention $200 MILLION IN DIAMONDS BEING TRANSPORTED A DAY) one might be inclined to think that this was not a what-if situation but rather just a question of when. So don't let your business become the victim of the next "Italian Job"

Read more about the $50 million heist here - http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/19/world/europe/belgium-diamond-heist/index.html