Metropolitan Police Service
Photo courtesy of the Hilti Corporation
Hilti Photo courtesy of the Hilti Corporation

Over the Easter holiday weekend a gang of up to seven men broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd in central London, opened 72 safe deposit boxes, and made off with between $60 and $300 million in gold, jewels, and diamonds. The gang breached the vault by drilling a series of holes through 20 inches of concrete with a stolen Hilti DD 350 diamond coring rig (videos below).

Police officials know that was the tool because the robbers left it and others behind. The DD 350 rig is the second largest coring tool sold by Hilti. It weighs 76 pounds and goes for about $8,700 (US). There are believed to be only a few thousand of this model in the U.K; the one used in the robbery appears to have been stolen from a London jobsite late last year.

This is not the kind of publicity any tool company wants. On the other hand, Hilti can perhaps take pride in the fact that their tool was chosen by a group of professionals who needed to do a difficult job in a short period of time—without any screw-ups. As a friend said on Facebook, “You'll notice that no tools from Harbor Freight or Ryobi were mentioned. In a demanding situation like that, only pro-duty equipment makes the cut.” In fairness to those companies, neither makes core drilling tools or caters to the industrial market.

The video above shows a DD 350 in action. It was posted in 2013 by Russian-speaking tradesmen who were drilling a 350mm (13 3/4”) hole for a ventilation duct. Presumably, it is unrelated to the Hatton Garden heist—though the gas mask does look kind of suspicious.

If you think those holes through the wall of the vault are big, then see this. The workers in this video are core drilling a 60-inch diameter hole through the base of a dam that is being repaired.