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ROBBERY

Axe-wielding robbers steal €400k of jewels from luxury Paris hotel

French police are searching for a team of robbers who stole thousands of euros' worth of jewels and luxury clothing in a nighttime raid at a plush hotel in Paris.

Axe-wielding robbers steal €400k of jewels from luxury Paris hotel
Thieves targeted the Peninsula Hotel in Paris. Photo: AFP

Two men wearing balaclavas and gloves entered the Peninsula hotel, just a stone's throw from the Arc de Triomphe, shortly after midnight and held employees at gunpoint, police sources said.

One of the attackers then used an axe to break into four display cases, making off with items worth a total of €350,000 to €400,000.

An accomplice then drove them away in a car that was found burning shortly afterwards in the suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of the capital.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in the robbery, the sources said.

France's organised crime brigade has taken over the inquiry.

Luxury Paris hotels have been the target of several robberies in recent years, as have jewellery stores and wealthy tourists visiting the city.

In January 2018, three men were charged over an audacious yet unsuccessful jewellery heist at the Ritz, after they were thwarted by locked doors as they tried to flee.

Last September, three Russian tourists were robbed of thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry and luxury clothing shortly after landing at a Paris airport reserved for private jets.

Member comments

  1. The robbers of course ARE criminals. But there is a weird, existential “justice” perhaps going on here, since people having hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of show-off jewelry are demonstrable (a) stunningly shallow [they need “stuff” to compensate for their ZERO self-image] and (b) (to quote Honoré Balzac): “Behind all great wealth lies a crime.” So, most likely, obvious criminals stealing from Carefully Hidden From Scrutiny . . . criminals. Ho hum.

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ROBBERY

Stolen €1 million cello returned to French musician

An 18th-century cello worth more than a million euros was returned to an award-winning French musician on Saturday after she was robbed at knifepoint in a Paris suburb earlier in the week.

Stolen €1 million cello returned to French musician
Ophélie Gaillard. Photo: Aparté Music
“I received an anonymous call late in the morning saying that my cello was inside a car in front of my house. I found it in the back seat,” soloist Ophelie Gaillard told AFP.
 
One of the car windows was broken and the musician said she quickly grabbed the instrument, which is “in good condition”, before notifying police.
 
An attacker had held her up at knifepoint outside her home on Thursday, forcing her to hand over the cello, as well as her mobile phone, before fleeing on foot in the northeastern suburb of Pantin.
 
“The theft was very violent, I have not been able to sleep for two days. I am so relieved to have found it. I'm coming out of a two-day nightmare — it's a miracle,” she said.
 
The police confirmed the cello had been found and a source close to the investigation by the BRB unit in charge of armed robberies said: “It's not an instrument that can be sold to a fence on the corner”.
 
After the robbery on Thursday, Gaillard appealed for help from the public on Facebook, posting pictures of the instrument.
 
The cello, which was loaned to her by CIC bank and is valued at nearly €1.3 million ($1.6 million), was made in Udine, Italy in 1737 by luthier Francesco Goffriller, son of Venetian master cello-maker Matteo Goffriller.  The cello case also contained her bow, which she said was made by acclaimed 19th-century French bowmaker Jean Pierre Marie Persoit “around 1825 in Paris”.
 
In 2003, Gaillard was named the best new instrumental soloist at the French classical music awards.