Key Pink Panthers arrest in Italy demonstrates strength of international police co-operation

14 May 2010

LYON, France – A key member of the Pink Panthers, wanted internationally for his suspected role in a series of high value jewellery robberies around the world, has been arrested by Italian police.

Thirty-nine-year-old Radovan Jelusic, a Montenegrin national, who is the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice from Cyprus and is also wanted by several other INTERPOL member countries for a range of offences, was identified and arrested by the Squadra Mobile in Rome.

Jelusic, who is suspected of involvement in the 2007 armed robbery of a jewellery store in the Ginza district of Tokyo, was in possession of a forged Croatian passport when located.

However, close co-operation between INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus in Rome and Podgorica with support from INTERPOL’s Project Pink Panthers unit at the General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France meant that Jelusic’s identity could be confirmed through fingerprint and photo comparison.

“This arrest, which comes less than two weeks after that of another Pink Panthers member in Montenegro, clearly shows the effective work being done by police investigating this gang of armed robbers, and particularly by the police in Montenegro and Italy in this case,” said Jean-Michel Louboutin, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services.

“These successes are due to the willingness of law enforcement to work together, and are a reflection on the hard work and professionalism of all the officers involved.

“It is clear that as the amount of information shared with INTERPOL and its network of 188 member countries increases, so too is the number of Pink Panther members being located, identified and arrested,” added Mr Louboutin.

INTERPOL created the Pink Panthers project in 2007 to co-ordinate the worldwide campaign across its 188 member countries against the crime gang which is believed to have carried out armed jewellery robberies around the world worth in excess of EUR 250 million in the last ten years.