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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Report: ‘All jewels from Paris Ritz heist recovered’

The gems and watches stolen were thought to be worth more than four million euros ($4.8 million)

Police now believe they have recovered all of the jewels stolen from the Ritz. EPA/IAN LANGSDON
Police now believe they have recovered all of the jewels stolen from the Ritz. EPA/IAN LANGSDON

The jewels stolen from shops in the landmark Ritz hotel in Paris on Wednesday night worth millions of euros have all been recovered, a source close to the case told AFP on Thursday.

Some of the loot had been recovered on the day of the crime after the arrest of three of the thieves as they tried to flee the hotel and the rest was in a “bag seized [on Wednesday] by police,” the source said. The gems and watches stolen were thought to be worth more than four million euros ($4.8 million).

The gang had attacked the celebrated hotel, smashing display windows on the ground floor of the hotel in Paris’ luxurious Place Vendome at 6.30pm on Wednesday night.

Jean-Michel Huguet, a representative of the French police union said that the criminals had “entered by the service entrance, smashed the jewellery stands, [and] grabbed jewels that were clearly expensive with the help of axes.”

The three members of the gang who entered the hotel grabbed watches made by Rolex and Piaget from display cases before hitting a jewellery shop in the hotel.

The men in the hotel threw their haul out of windows to their two accomplices outside, according to police. As the men fled the scene, one of them hit and slightly injured a pedestrian.

French police said on Thursday the jewels stolen by the axe-wielding robbers were found in a bag dropped by one of the two robbers from the five-strong gang who managed to escape the scene of the crime.

The three arrested men, who were all in their early 30s, are from the Seine-Saint-Denis area north of Paris, and are “well known to the police for armed robbery, violence and receiving stolen goods”, a source close to the inquiry said.

The area has been repeatedly targeted by crime gangs. In 2014, armed raids on the Place Vendome saw jewels worth hundreds of thousands of euros were stolen. And thieves struck again in March 2016, when an estimated six million euros worth of jewels were stolen from luxury fashion brand Chopard by robbers who threatened employees with a gun and grenade.

“I would say that this was a very violent, armed attack by a large, well-organised and professional gang,” the mayor of Paris’ 1st district, Jean-Francois Legaret said.

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