Thieves got away with about $1 million in jewelry earmarked for celebrities to wear at the Cannes Film Festival in France, The Washington Post reports. The gang reportedly pulled off the job this morning by ripping a safe out of a wall at a hotel near the festival.
“According to the BBC, an employee of Chopard, the Swiss jeweler, was staying in the room and the jewels were meant to be loaned to celebrities to wear at the French Riviera’s renowned festival,” the story reports. “Hours earlier, the festival had screened a film called ‘The Bling Ring,’ directed by Sofia Coppola and featuring Emma Watson, based on the true story of a group of high schoolers in Los Angeles. The film portrays students who ‘after seeing online when certain stars are expected at a premiere or other event, take the opportunity to steal designer bags, shoes and clothes from their homes, lingering to pretend to live in celebrity opulence,’ according to the AP.”
Jewel thefts have been a problem in the past for the area, known for its wealthy tourists, the piece notes.
The story reports: “This past holiday season, law enforcement agencies placed additional police on patrol and installed surveillance cameras, reported The Riviera Times, a local English-language newspaper: ‘As a hub for luxury tourism, the Riviera always attracts jewellery thieves and bank robbers. But this Christmas, the risk is even higher. “The price of gold has risen, we are in financial difficulty, delinquance [sic] persists — we have all the ingredients for a highly tense Christmas!” said colonel Gael Marchand, head of the A.M. gendarmerie, in a report by Nice Matin.’”
The area had a large jewelry heist in 2009, the Post notes, although in that case it was not related to the festival. The report notes about the 2009 incident: “A man walked into a Cartier jewelry store wearing a Hawaiian shirt and produced a gun, ordering everyone inside to the floor. Two accomplices followed and scooped up around $21 million worth of jewels, according to New York [Magazine].”