Tag Archives: Paris

The Jewelry Insider

December 5, 2008

Diamond jewelry valued at $108 million was seized yesterday in a shocking robbery of the Parisian branch of high-end jeweler, Harry Winston. The well-organized bandits were said to know the names of several employees and the location of the branch’s secret jewelry storage units. And the best part? They robbed in drag!

According to Yahoo! news, armed men dressed in wigs and women’s dresses entered the store on Avenue Montaigne near the Champs-Elysees shortly before their closing time. They took nearly everything on display and forced staff to hand off diamonds stashed away in the back. No one was injured and no shots were fired. (The fashion police were unfortunately off duty).

This heist comes on the heels of a similar raid on the very same branch over a year ago, where thieves escaped with more than $25 million in glittering gems. Coincidence? Or is this the same outfit back for another grab?

“We are clearly dealing with well-organized, ruthless criminals,” Winston spokeswoman, Isabelle Montagne, said yesterday.

Parisian TV crews and curious passersby littered the road outside the store and marveled at the millions lost.

“How on earth are they going to fence all that,” asked Richard Conacher, a 39-year-old pub worker from Melbourne.

The largest-ever jewelry heist took place in February 2003, when thieves took diamonds valued at 100 million euros from vaults at Antwerp’s diamond exchange, according to Agence France- Presse.

Jewelry heists are dramatized in Hollywood as rather ‘romantic’ crimes, (Exhibit A: To Catch A Thief, Exhibit B: The James Bond ouevre). Click here for a closer look at historic real-life jewelry thefts (and put those Cary Grant cat burglar fantasies in a box where they belong.)