Thieves steal 85 million euros worth of jewels in Paris
Four thieves carried out a what is being called the theft of the century when they stole an estimated 85 million euros (108 million dollars) worth of jewelry from a renowned jewellers' in the heart of Paris, French media said on Friday, dpa reported.
If the valuation of the stolen merchandise is confirmed, it would make the robbery one of the largest successful jewel heists of all time.
The hold-up was carried out late Thursday afternoon at Harry Winston jewelers', on the posh Avenue Montaigne, not far from the Champs Elysees.
Three armed robbers, who reportedly wore women's clothing, burst into the shop and took all the merchandise exhibited in the show windows and display cases. A fourth accomplice was said to have waited outside the store.
The robbers were said to have been well informed and even knew the names of some of the shop's personnel.
The online edition of the weekly Le Point reported that one of the lines investigators are pursuing is that the thieves may have come from the east, because stolen diamonds and other gems are difficult to dispose of, except in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Harry Winston is one of the world's most renowned jewelers. He designed the famous tiara worn by Empress Farah Diba for her wedding to Shah Mohammed Reza of Iran. The tiara's centrepiece was the 60- carat Nur-ul-Ain pink diamond.
Harry Winston also cut the famous 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond the late actor Richard Burton bought for his wife Elizabeth Taylor's 40th birthday.
The firm's current clientele includes Queen Elizabeth II of England and a number of megastars such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson.
Almost exactly one year ago, on December 6, 2007, unknown thieves broke into the same Paris store and made off with some 10 million euros worth of jewelry.