Paris thieves in drag steal $100m in jewelery

December 5, 2008

Paris, France (ChattahBox) — Armed robbers have stolen at least $102 million worth of jewels from one of Paris’s most prestigious jewelery shops, police say. Harry Winston is situated on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne and attracts a wealthy clientele from around the world, from royalty to film stars. The jewelery chain has sold precious stones to royal families and lent them to film stars for events such as the Cannes film festival or the Oscars in Hollywood.

As many as four robbers, two disguised as women, stormed the store near the Champs-Elysee and stole nearly all its valuables. The robbers managed to elude the high-security surveillance system and burst into the boutique at 5:30 pm, at the height of the holiday shopping season. They spoke French and perhaps another language, seemed well informed and knew the names of some of the staff, police say. Witnesses said some of the thieves were disguised as women and appeared to know the location of some hidden storage cases for jewelery. The whole operation lasted just 15 minutes and it was obviously planned and executed by pros.

The store was hit by another robbery almost 14 months ago. Armed robbers made an even bigger haul nabbing an estimated $13 million worth of valuables.

This latest robbery is still one of the country’s most serious for decades. Around 10 people and 15 staff were in the store on Thursday afternoon when the robbers entered. Once inside they brandished handguns and acted quickly and violently, rounding up staff and customers. They overturned display cases and emptied the shop of nearly all its stock. Some of the staff were said to have been hurt in the robbery.


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