Sunday 19 August 2018

Jewels worth €4.2m stolen in Paris Ritz heist

Police stand at the back entrance of the Ritz hotel in Paris. Photo: Reuters
Police stand at the back entrance of the Ritz hotel in Paris. Photo: Reuters

Simon Carraud

Axe-wielding robbers stole jewellery yesterday possibly worth more than $5m (€4.2m) from a store in the famed Ritz Hotel in Paris, police said.

Five thieves carried out the heist at the luxury hotel in the late afternoon. Three were arrested, while two others got away. There were no injuries.

"The loss is very high and remains to be assessed," one police source said. Another put the figure at €4.5m, but said that a bag had been recovered possibly containing some of the loot.

The robbers appeared to have entered the Reza jewellery store through a side street entrance, smashed display cases and taken the valuables. The store also opens into the five-star Ritz.

Two people were inside the store at the time, and alerted police.

The hotel first opened in 1898 and was the first Paris hotel to boast electricity on all floors, and bathrooms that were inside rooms. The former home of fashion designer Coco Chanel and author Marcel Proust, the Ritz was a favourite drinking hole of American writer Ernest Hemingway. It was at the Ritz that Diana, Princess of Wales, spent her last night in 1997 before the car crash that killed her and her lover Dodi Fayed, son of the hotel's owner Mohammed al-Fayed.

Armed heists targeting jewellery stores are not uncommon in the chic avenues near Place Vendome square in central Paris, where the Ritz is located.

Several high-end Paris jewellery stores have been targets of dramatic robberies in recent years, including Cartier, Harry Winston and Chopard. Kim Kardashian West lost millions of dollars' worth of jewellery when she was robbed at gunpoint in a Paris apartment in October 2016.

Irish Independent

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