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French Authorities Increase Jewel Heist Value to $136M

Jul 29, 2013 5:24 PM   By Sandra Mardenfeld
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RAPAPORT... French authorities boosted the value of the jewelry stolen at a French resort July 28 from $53 million to $136 million, making the robbery at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes one of the world's biggest heists. The value of diamonds and jewelry stolen was increased following an inventorying, according to Assistant Prosecutor Philippe Vique. The jewels that were stolen belonged to the jewelry house of Lev Leviev.

On Sunday, an armed suspect reportedly broke through French doors of the hotel in broad daylight before escaping with diamond jewelry and loose gems. The Associated Press reported that the robbery -- completed in front of three private security guards, two vendors and a sales manager -- took just one minute. According to police,  no one  informed them such a display was scheduled either, which is a standard protocol for a luxury hotel.

Some speculated that the robbery implicates the "Pink Panther" gang of jewel thieves, who are nicknamed after the 1963 Peter Sellers movie with the same name, and are back -- especially in light of recent prison breaks of three of the gang's members. "The possibility of the reemergence of the Pink Panther gang is very troubling and taken seriously by law enforcement worldwide," said Jonathan Sazonoff, the U.S. editor for the Museum Security Network website, to the Associated Press. "The theft of high-value diamonds is exactly what they do."

The theft is compared with other major heists, such as the 2008 robbery from a Paris Harry Winston store where thieves, some clad as women, nabbed $118 million in rings, necklaces and luxury watches and a 2003 robbery where the suspects pilfered an estimated $100 million from 123 safe-deposit boxes at Antwerp Diamond Center in Belgium.
Tags: cannes, Carlton, diamonds, Heist, Leviev, Pink panthers, robbery, Sandra Mardenfeld, theft
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