A complex network of more than 200 thieves work together to conduct heist after heist, netting about half a billion dollars in stolen diamonds throughout Europe and the Middle East. It sounds like a complicated Hollywood thriller, but this is real life.
It's the story of the Pink Panthers, a clandestine pack of jewel thieves who have captured international attention for their illegal antics. The Panthers are the subject of a new documentary called "Smash And Grab: The Pink Panther Story." Director Havana Marking talked with HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri about the sometimes glamorous and always risky life of a Panther.
Marking interviewed three former Panthers for her film, which examines the increasing danger for the heist group as police get better at catching them and the most talented thieves are leaving the game.
"As law enforcement in Europe has really, really started closing down on them -- and they've been incredibly successful in the last few years at arresting Panthers -- it's getting much harder, much more risky for the thieves," Marking said. "Lots of the older guys are retiring. ... You're finding that much less professional people are now taking the jobs, and so that's when people are panicking, the jobs are not planned so well."
The skill level to become a Panther is high, and making money from such expensive stolen goods requires deep connections within the criminal world. When it works, the profits are steep. But even after the thefts are over, Panthers can never truly leave the stress of the work behind.
'They are not happy. They're not retiring in the sun," Marking said. "They're paranoid. They have nervous breakdowns. Their relationships haven't worked. This is not a lifestyle you actually want to choose."
Watch the full interview with "Smash And Grab" director Havana Marking at HuffPost Live HERE.