IT was one of the most audacious and daring heists of all time, with up to €70 million in diamonds and jewellery snatched from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport under the noses of armed security.
Only a fraction of the loot was ever recovered, while the gang disappeared into the wind, evidently having made good on their crime.
That was until Tuesday this week, when justice finally caught up with its chief architect and the Netherland’s most wanted fugitive.
Errol HV, 59, was the mastermind behind the largest theft in Dutch history, of which only a fraction has been recovered nearly 20 years later.
He was arrested in Ibiza on Tuesday afternoon after a dramatic roadside intervention by special agents from the Policia Nacional’s Fugitive Location Group, who had been staking him out since November.
But Holland’s most wanted fugitive had been no easy find for Ibiza’s finest.
Whatever had happened to the missing loot, it evidently was not with Errol, who had spent the last several months crashing with friends.
Nowhere to be seen were the multi-million euro villas, yachts or fast cars for the Dutchman, who had been crashing with friends.
Instead, Errol had reportedly been offering his services as a local handyman, dog walker and even therapeutic masseuse in order to make ends meet.
After weeks of observing this down-and-out expat trundling around their island – a far cry from the daring villain of legend – they decided it was the time to strike.
They watched Errol leave the villa in the passenger seat of a car driven by a young female friend.
Agents in two separate cars came at him from opposite directions, cornering him and shutting off his avenues of escape.
Dramatic bodycam footage shows the moment pistol-toting cops run up to the stationary vehicle and drag the bald fugitive out into the sleepy country road and place him under arrest.
With news that the Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service are already preparing to request his extradition, it appears to mark the end of the road for a daring villain who had almost caused social unrest in his native country with his audacious diamond heist 19 years ago.
Yet it is not the first time Spanish law enforcement have intervened to spoil Errol’s getaway.
After making off with the enormous stash back in 2005, it seemed that Errol, 40 at the time, had made good on his crime of the century.
Disguised as KLM Cargo employees driving a stolen company van, the robbers gained access to the secure freight area at Holland’s busiest transport hub without arousing suspicion.
Once inside, the thieves intercepted a shipment of diamonds that was being transferred from a vault to a waiting aircraft destined for Antwerp and calmly drove out of the airport and into the sunset.
But it was not to last. Errol was tracked down and arrested in Valencia in 2017, some 12 years later.
Another five men and two women in his team were also arrested – audaciously in the Dutch capital, the very scene of the crime.
Errol was extradited to Holland and sentenced to seven years in prison. But after three years behind bars, he appealed in 2020.
A judge generously released him while the decision was pending.
The appeal court verdict came in a year later and his sentence was actually increased – to nine and a half years.
Of course, by this time Errol was once again in the wind – until officers from Ibiza’s Fugitive Location Group made their intervention this week.