The process in Cologne is heavily guarded. The accused is said to belong to the notorious gang of jeweler robbers “Pink Panther”. The 34-year-old does not want to make any statements.

Police officers with machine guns and protective helmets in the district court: In Cologne, a trial against a suspected member of the jewel robber gang “Pink Panther” has begun.

The 34-year-old is said to have committed three robberies on jewelers in Cologne and on a value transporter in Esslingen near Stuttgart with accomplices in 2015 and 2016. The loot is said to have been worth more than 700,000 euros.

The slim, dark-haired man in the dock is said to belong to the gang accused of a year-long series of hundreds of robberies around the world. The masterminds of the “Pink Panther” network are said to come from Serbia and other south-eastern European countries.

34-year-old refuses to testify

The 34-year-old is also accused of causing dangerous bodily harm and using an assault rifle in a robbery. On the first day of the trial, the defendant, who was born in Croatia, had one of his four lawyers explain that he did not want to testify.

According to the indictment, the perpetrators used violence. At a jeweler in Cologne-Nippes, the perpetrators beat a witness to the ground and tied him with pink steel shackles. Then jewelry showcases were smashed and emptied. This raid lasted only 85 seconds. The four perpetrators, including the accused, fled in a car. The loot was gold jewelry and cash worth around 120,000 euros.

In another attack on a jeweler, the accused is said to have worn a Rasta wig and a beige straw hat as camouflage. However, inside the store, a witness was able to grab a baseball bat and charge at the men clearing the display cases. They fleed.

The suspect was wanted on an international arrest warrant

During the robbery in Esslingen in October 2016, according to the indictment, a security guard was forced to sit in the security van. When he asked “What’s that about?” was hit on the head with a telescopic baton. The loot was worth almost 590,000 euros.

The suspect was wanted on an international arrest warrant. In September 2021, he was arrested at a passport control at Barcelona airport. The Spanish authorities extradited him two months later.

The defense applied on Tuesday to suspend the main hearing due to incomplete files. About half an hour after the start, the process was initially interrupted. The court canceled the next two appointments in the afternoon. The case is set to continue on July 13. A total of 16 days of negotiations are scheduled.