Paris police hunt for jewels, thieves after Ritz robbery


A police spokesman said authorities arrested three suspects after the robbery around 6:30 p.m.

Authorities believe one of the escaping thieves mistakenly dropped a bag of stolen goods when his motorcycle knocked into a pedestrian during his escape. Place Vendome, with its opulent window displays of jewellers and high-end watchmakers, has been the scene of several audacious daytime raids.

Three men were arrested as they tried to flee by the way they came in with bags of gems and watches worth over 4 million euros ($4.8 million) but came up against locked doors.

It was the last place Princess Diana stayed before her fatal vehicle crash in a Paris tunnel, and hosts elite guests from around the world who prize the refined neighbourhood.

The hotel, now owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohammed al-Fayed, first opened in 1898 and was the first Paris hotel to boast electricity on all floors and bathrooms that were inside rooms.

The suspects were wearing gloves and balaclavas and carrying handguns as well as hatchets, according to police sources.

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On finding their escape route blocked the thieves threw the loot out of a window to two accomplices waiting outside.

The accomplices outside fled, one on a motorcycle and another in a vehicle - which French media reported was found burnt out in Val-d'Oise, about 30 kilometres north of Paris. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb also thanked the officers, saying the capture of the three men was "a credit to our police", the BBC reported.

This is the latest in a string of high-profile heists in the French capital.

Several high-end Paris jewellery stores have been targets of dramatic robberies in recent years, including Cartier, Harry Winston and Chopard.

Five men held up Kardashian at gunpoint in the luxury apartment where she was staying, making off with a diamond ring and other jewellery pieces valued in total at nine million euros.