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Paris Ritz raid: French police recover jewels stolen in heist

French police have recovered some of the jewels worth over €4 million looted from the Ritz hotel in central Paris, a police source told AFP on Thursday as officers hunt for two thieves who remain on the run.

Paris Ritz raid: French police recover jewels stolen in heist
Photo: AFP
A gang of five used axes to smash the display windows of jewellery shops on the ground floor of the hotel in Place Vendome on Wednesday evening at around 6:30 pm (1730 GMT).
   
“A part of the loot was recovered scattered about during the arrest of three of the suspected robbers,” the police source said, referring to the men detained immediately after the heist.
   
More jewels and watches were found in a bag dropped by one of the two suspects still at large, the source added, without being able to give an estimate for the value of the goods retrieved.
   
Place Vendome, home to some of Paris's top jewellers and high-end watchmakers, has been the scene of several audacious daytime raids in recent years.
 
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Axe-wielding robbers steal millions in raid on Paris Ritz

Photo: AFP   

Several luxury brands display their jewels in the Ritz, famous as a hangout of Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway as well as for being the hotel where Britain's Princess Diana stayed before her death in a car crash in a Paris tunnel in 1997.
   
Three of the robbers, who were wearing gloves and balaclavas and carrying handguns as well as hatchets, entered the hotel from the back and smashed the display windows, according to two police sources.
   
They tried to escape out the back but found the doors blocked and tried to transfer the loot through a window to two accomplices waiting outside.
   
One of the two accomplices fled by car. The other made his getaway on a motorbike, dropping a bag of jewels in the process.
   
The total value of the loot was estimated at 4.0 million euros ($4.75 million), a legal source close to the case told AFP on Wednesday evening.
   
Interior minister Gerard Collomb praised the responding officers for their quick reaction which led to the three arrests, saying they had “done our police force credit.”
   
The French capital's most high-profile recent jewellery theft was carried out in October 2016 against US reality television star Kim Kardashian.
   
Five men, some wearing jackets with police insignia, held Kardashian at gunpoint, making off with several pieces of gold and diamond jewellery as well as a ring — a total estimated worth of nine million euros.
   
One of the robbers, fleeing the scene on a bicycle, dropped a diamond-encrusted cross worth 30,000 euros, which was found by a passer-by a few hours later.
   
It remains the only piece to be recovered from the heist.
   
The robbery comes a year-and-half after the Ritz re-opened its palatial doors to guests after nearly four years of renovations and a major fire.
 
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The five biggest jewellery heists France has ever seen
Photo: AFP

PARIS

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

Paris police on Tuesday fished a man out of the Seine river, which he jumped into after he rammed a car into a Valentino store and robbed dozens of luxury handbags.

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

The 24-year-old suspect smashed into the store around 2am on the high-end Rue Saint-Honoré, a police source said.

He grabbed as many as 30 luxury handbags and other items before attempting to flee in the car.

The man then failed to stop when a police patrol gave chase after spotting him near the central Paris Opéra.

He abandoned the car on Place de la Concorde at the end of the Champs-Elysées, the police source said, before plunging into the nearby river Seine.

But river police quickly fished him out and placed him under arrest.

A source familiar with the case said that the “entirety” of the stolen items had been found.

A second source told AFP that “around 30” handbags – which Valentino lists on its website at between €1,000 and €3,000 – were found in his car.

The suspect now faces an investigation for charges including aggravated robbery and refusal to comply with police, Paris prosecutors said.

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