Gold necklace thieves plague Paris

A new trend has hit the streets of Paris: ripping gold chains from their owners' necks, according to new crime figures.

Police said on Wednesday that 270 people had been arrested in the first nine months of the year for muggings aimed at cashing in on the rising price of the precious metal.

In July alone – at the height of the tourist season – there were 635 reported incidents of thefts of gold chains or necklaces in the French capital and its surrounding suburbs.

Authorities in other French cities have reported a similar upward trend in gold-centred thefts in a year which has seen the metal hit record highs thanks to its rediscovered status as a safe haven in times of financial turmoil.

Gold prices were at $1,708.35 an ounce Wednesday on the London Bullion Market, up from $1,574.50 at the beginning of the year.

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