Thieves smashed into gallery before fleeing with police in chase.
Thieves smashed their way into an art gallery to steal a 2.2 million euro artwork before escaping police by fleeing at 220 kilometres an hour down the wrong side of a highway with their lights out.
The burglary broke through 5cm thick reinforced glass using some kind of battering ram in order to reach the piece, called "Golden Natural Chaos" which is made from 45kg of 18 karat gold.
The entire operation took just four minutes. A neighbour of the gallery in Knokke, Belgium captured the getaway car being loaded up after being awoken by the alarm.
Artist Arne Quinze who took more than 2 years to make the work, told Euronews he was stunned and devastated because he had invested so much - both financially and artistically in its creation.
"When it was finished I remember the team went silent. Not just because they were proud but because of the feeling created by the piece. The piece made us," he said. "It's impossible to make that piece again."
"Now it's a race. Like every piece of art it's impossible to sell so they will melt it down for the gold," he added.
Police were on the scene within around five minutes, according to a spokesman for the artist, but were unable to recover the work despite a long car chase.
The artwork, which was originally made in Belgium as part of a collaboration with precious metals manufacturer Heimerle+Meule has toured the world, passing through China, the US and France before returning to its homeland.