'Pink Panther' escapes in armed Swiss prison break with fellow inmate
July 26, 2013 -- Updated 1930 GMT (0330 HKT)
- Swiss police are hunting two escaped prisoners and their two accomplices
- Police: One of the inmates belongs to the Pink Panthers, an international jewel theft gang
- The two accomplices used vehicles, ladders and automatic weapons to overcome security
- The four men escaped in a gray-colored vehicle, police said
(CNN) -- Police in Switzerland hunted Friday for two inmates who escaped in a prison break staged by a pair of armed accomplices.
The two prisoners who escaped from Orbe prison Thursday evening were named by the Vaud canton's police department as serial criminal Adrian Albrecht, 53, and Milan Poparic, 34, a Bosnian national.
Poparic was jailed for robbery of a jewelry store in Neuchatel and is part of the "Pink Panthers" group, the police statement said.
According to the Interpol website, the Pink Panthers are behind armed robberies targeting high-end jewelry stores in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
Drag queens, fake beards and chocolates: Notable diamond heists
The loosely associated network of criminals has hundreds of members and is believed to have stolen jewelry worth more than €300 million ($396 million) since 1999, it said.
Several inmates were exercising in an outside area under the supervision of prison officers and private security guards when the two accomplices used vehicles to breach a gate and barbed wire barriers around the prison grounds.
They brought two ladders to help Poparic and Albrecht escape over the barbed-wire of the prison yard, police said.
At the same time, the accomplices directed bursts of automatic weapon fire toward the prison officers and security guards to keep them at bay.
The security personnel were able to take cover and no one was hurt, police said. The four men then torched one of the two vehicles and drove off in the other, a gray-colored vehicle.
Police patrols, canine teams and security officers are combing the area for clues to their whereabouts. The border guards and French police are also involved in the hunt for the four men, police said.
Orbe, a town in Switzerland's western Vaud canton, or state, is not far from the French border.
Part of complete coverage on
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories