- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Call Peter Sellers, the Pink Panther may have returned.

On a highway south of Paris in the middle of the night Wednesday, 15 armed suspects stole two vans that were carrying millions of euros in jewels, French police said.

The drivers of the vans were unharmed — left on the side of the road — and police found the empty vans and cars the thieves had used just a short distance away – burned in an attempt to hide any evidence.

The heist, officials said, is reminiscent of tactics used by the Pink Panther gang, a crew of jewel thieves who are credited with stealing more than 300 million euros in jewels and other goods since 1999 according to Interpol.

French police are still searching the nation’s A6 highway for any further clues.

It’s the latest in what officials have said is a string of gold and jewelry thefts in France. Perhaps the most bizarre occurred in 2008 when a group of men, cross-dressing as women, stole more than 90 million euros in jewelry from a Harry Winston shop in Paris.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

• Phillip Swarts can be reached at pswarts@washingtontimes.com.

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