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CRIME

Armed gang robs Chanel boutique in Paris

An armed gang on Thursday robbed a Chanel watch and jewellery store near the swanky Place Vendome in central Paris in broad daylight, police told AFP.

Armed gang robs Chanel boutique in Paris
Police set up a security cordon near the entrance to a Paris Chanel shop after a suspected armed robbery. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

Nobody was hurt during the heist, and there was no immediate indication of the bounty’s value.

Police said at least one of the four, who were all masked and wore helmets, carried an assault rifle, with a witness saying that the others also had automatic weapons.

They made their getaway on two motorbikes in a scene that was filmed by a bystander and widely shared on social media.

The clip shows three people dressed in black leaving the boutique while a fourth, carrying an assault rifle on a shoulder strap, waited on a motorcycle.

A witness, 26-year-old Anastasia Martino who works in a clothes store across from Chanel said she was on a cigarette break when she noticed “a man with a Kalashnikov on a motorbike”, at around 2:30 pm (1230 GMT).

“Two minutes later, three other men left the boutique carrying big black bags. They, too, had automatic weapons, got on two motorbikes and left in a hurry.”

Her colleague, 31-year-old Cyril Ngo, said the heist lasted a full 10 minutes. “These weren’t professionals,” he said.

The Chanel shop is located on Rue de La Paix, close to Place Vendome, an area with a high concentration of luxury jewellery stores.

Police cordoned off the area shortly after the robbery, and the store was shuttered.

Chanel, founded in 1910 by Coco Chanel, is one of France’s leading fashion houses, selling haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes, perfumes, accessories and other luxury items.

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CRIME

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.

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