In these days of Kool-Aid and poverty, we all dream of easy, dirty money. That's why a violent gang of Eastern European jewel thieves called the "Pink Panthers" are the new darlings of the media!

This loosely-connected group of a couple hundred hardened criminals from the former Yugoslavia are now vying with the Somali Pirates for the public's hearts! They first made a big splash with their daring smash-and-grab robbery of Harry Winston in Paris earlier this month, where they made off with $100 million in jewels. Some of them dressed up like ladies and everything—why this is just like Ocean's 11!

The heist-movie-come-to-life element meant the authorities just had to dub them the "Pink Panthers," which almost guarantees each and every last guy a book deal, should he so desire.

Defense lawyers for some thieves who have been arrested insist that the name Pink Panthers is an invention of drama-loving law enforcement authorities. But investigators say there are about 200 members in the group — linked by village and blood — and they blame the group for scooping up jewels worth more than $132 million in bold robberies in Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco. They live all over Europe, with some working in mundane jobs as hospital cleaners, waiting to be summoned for the next discount flight to a foreign capital, they said.

And that Dubai robbery, where they drove an Audi full speed into the front window of a jewelry store? It's a Youtube hit. How modern!

Watch out, Somali pirates: the media's found another gang of ruthless, plundering international criminals to crush on. And these guys have jewelry too! [NYT]