PARIS – Kim Kardashian West joined a line of victims of major jewel heists when armed robbers entered her Paris residence, chained her to bathroom furnishings and escaped with jewels worth an estimated $10 million. Other thieves have outwitted armed guards and alarm systems or cut through an airport fence or to seize their loot.
Some spectacular jewel thefts in recent memory:
FASHION WEEK FRIGHT
Armed robbers forced their way early Monday into a private Paris residence where Kim Kardashian West was staying and tied her up, police officials said. They said five assailants, who are still at large, stole a jewelry box containing valuables worth 6 million euros ($6.7 million) as well as a ring worth 4 million euros ($4.5 million.)
A spokeswoman for Kardashian West said the reality TV star, who was in Paris attending fashion week shows, was badly shaken but physically unharmed. She left soon afterward for New York.
Flashing bling has gotten other celebrities in trouble, too.
A reported $3 million worth of jewelry were taken from a tour bus being used by “Hotline Bling” rapper Drake and DJ Future the Prince while they were performing earlier this year in the U.S. city of Phoenix. According to police, the suspect had removed a briefcase containing the jewelry in a window of 15 minutes while the performers were on stage. Police later recovered the goods by identifying a suspect through surveillance footage.
OFFSCREEN DRAMA AT CANNES
Cannes is known not only for its film festival glamour but also for police drama.
In 2013 thieves stole Chopard jewelry from a hotel room safe during the festival, a crime that drew parallels to Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” which was screening that year.
Two months later, a lone gunman pulled off one of the biggest jewelry heists of all time, stealing $136 million worth of diamond jewelry from Cannes’ Carlton Hotel — a location for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “To Catch a Thief.”
In 2015, raiders — one wearing an old-man mask — walked into the Cartier boutique on Cannes’ Croisette seaside promenade in the middle of the morning, and walked out with millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry and watches.
In a carefully planned 2013 theft, thieves cut through a fence at the Brussels airport, drove to a Switzerland-bound plane and snatched an estimated $50 million in diamonds.
In 2005, thieves threatened guards and hijacked an armoured car from Dutch carrier KLM’s cargo ramp at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, a major European transport hub making off with millions in diamonds and jewelry. Subsequent media reports put the value of the loot at up to $100 million. “It was a secured area of the airport, so it’s a big question how those people could get there,” an airline spokesman said at the time.
POSH TRICKSTERS AND CROSS-DRESSING CROOKS
In 2009, two elegantly dressed men robbed the Graff Diamond Store in London’s high-end Mayfair district and carried away necklaces, watches, rings and bracelets worth more than 40 million pounds ($62 million at today’s exchange rate), according to Scotland Yard.
While Christmas shoppers stroll outside the posh Harry Winston jewelry shop near Paris’ famed Champs-Elysees in 2008, armed thieves — some dressed as women and wearing wigs — entered the store and stole gems and jeweled watches worth up to $85 million, according to French police.
THE BIG SCORE
Robbers taped over security cameras, disabled the alarm system and broke into the high-security underground vaults of the Diamond Center in Antwerp, the world capital of diamond-cutting, getting away with an estimated $100 million in goods in 2003.
After prying open 123 of the 160 vaults, the thieves stood ankle-deep in a pile of diamonds, gold, jewelry, stocks, bonds, cash and lockboxes, police said. The bounty was so abundant they had to leave a lot behind.
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