An armed robber stole jewellery valued at around $149m at a jewellery exhibition in Cannes on the weekend.
According to Reuters, the thief burst into the Carlton Hotel around noon on Sunday July 28 armed with an automatic pistol and with a cap and a scarf concealing his face.
He threatened security guards and sales staff and then left just moments later with a briefcase containing 72 jewellery pieces including rings, pendants and diamond-encrusted earrings from a collection belonging to diamond specialist, Leviev.
“The man entered by a glass door onto the Croisette which normally should have been bolted,” reported Reuters.
The robbery immediately sparked concerns about lax security at the temporary exhibition by Leviev.
Cannes police said they had not been warned that the ‘Extraordinary Diamonds’ exhibition was taking place although it was usual practice to do so when “so much expensive jewellery was going on display”.
Vashi Dominguez, the chief executive of the London-based Diamond Manufacturers, told The Times that although the robbery might look random “it was no ordinary thief who could come and pull it off”.
He said the robbery was probably carried out by organised criminals with contacts in the diamond industry.
“If you can’t sell the diamonds, they are worthless. But in the diamond industry, like any other industry, there are people who are unethical and even if they know have been stolen, they will buy them and pay 60 or 70 per cent of their value.”