In one of the biggest jewel robberies to hit France in the last decade, a Cartier in Cannes was robbed of as much as $20 million in jewelry and watches, shaking the city one week ahead of the famed gem-studded film festival.
According to AFP, a man, armed with a machine gun and wearing the mask of an elderly person, managed to penetrate the shop’s security at 11 a.m. Tuesday, despite a lock and security guard. He then called in two accomplices, clad in scarves that hid their faces, while a fourth kept watch outside.
They held up the store’s two employees and customer inside and stashed their loot in a leather briefcase. The thieves dropped some along the sidewalk, which was later recovered.
The four men fled in a Mercedes, which was later found burned in a residential suburb.
The theft took place right near the InterContinental Carlton hotel, site of a record-setting $100 million theft in 2013. That crime has not been solved.
John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, says that France has the same amount of jewelry thefts as the United States, despite having one-fifth the amount of jewelers.
“It’s a big problem over there,” he says. “We rarely see $10 million or $15 million losses over here. They seem to have double-digit losses in the millions regularly.”
He adds “the jewelry industry in France needs to work more closely with the local police and the national police,” noting the industry has traditionally has had a wary relationship with law enforcement.