Robbers tunnel through wall into safe after paying off elderly woman.
Russian police have said that culprits behind a jewellery heist in St Petersburg used a Sherlock Holmes novel as the blueprint for the robbery.
Mimicking 120-year-old short story The Red-Headed League from the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the gang paid a 74-year-old woman in St Petersburg to leave her flat, which was next door to a jeweller, and then tunnelled through her walls to gain access to the jewellery shop and stole hundreds of gold and silver valuables.
The burglar alarm in the shop sounded twice during the raid but security guards dismissed it as a false alarm because the doors and windows of the shop were still locked.
Although the exact trick used to coax the woman out of her flat is still unknown, Russian police believe that it might have been the exact same ruse employed by the criminals on The Red-Headed League. In the book, fictional shop keep Jabez Wilson is lured away from his premises on the promise of a highly paid job for a bogus company that is only open to red-headed men.
In the 1892 novel, the would-be robbers are caught by Sherlock Holmes who foils their plans by waiting in the bank vault for them to arrive through the walls. In St Petersbourg, however, there was no such obstacle for these literary-loving jewellery thieves.
One St Petersburg policeman said: “Where was Sherlock when we needed him?”. He went on to add that the gang got away clean, leaving no traces at the scene of the crime.