Paris police hunt for jewels, thieves after Ritz Hotel robbery

Above, a valet waits outside the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Police have recovered some jewels stolen from the Ritz Hotel in a multimillion-euro robbery attempt, but are still searching Thursday for two thieves and the rest of the missing luxury merchandise. (AP)
Updated 11 January 2018
0

Paris police hunt for jewels, thieves after Ritz Hotel robbery

PARIS: Paris police have recovered some jewels stolen from the Ritz Hotel in a dramatic heist, but are still searching Thursday for two thieves and the rest of the missing luxury merchandise.
The robbery on Wednesday evening raised questions about security in one of the world’s most prestigious neighborhoods, the Place Vendome, whose well-guarded buildings include the Justice Ministry, high-end boutiques and the 19th century Ritz.
Workers cleaned up shattered glass Thursday morning and started to repair damage from the robbery. Otherwise business appeared to be returning to normal at the Ritz, with no significant increase in security.
Three suspects entered the hotel through an unmarked side door, smashed display cases and threw bags of goods out a window to at least two accomplices outside, according to a police official.
The three inside were then blocked when they tried to flee through another door, and soon arrested, the official said.
The accomplices outside fled, one on a motorcycle and another in a car. The motorcyclist dropped a bag with jewels and hatchets when his motorcycle hit a pedestrian during his escape, the official said. The pedestrian was lightly injured, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.
Other jewels were found scattered amid the debris of the shattered display cases during overnight cleanup efforts, the official told The Associated Press.
The overall value of the jewels on display was about €4.5 million, and authorities were working Thursday with the jewelers to determine how many items are still missing and their value, the official said.
Another police official said some of the thieves apparently had guns. Two people inside the hotel hid from the thieves and alerted police, the official said.
Patrons at the hotel’s renowned Hemingway Bar described panic as the thieves entered the hushed environment of the Ritz, where rooms start at €1,000 a night.
Several high-end Paris jewelry stores have been targets of dramatic robberies in recent years, including Cartier, Harry Winston and Chopard. Kim Kardashian West said she lost millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry when she was robbed at gunpoint in a Paris apartment in October 2016.
The Ritz was an especially luxurious target. The hotel has housed such famous names as Ernest Hemingway and Coco Chanel. It was the last place Princess Diana stayed before her fatal car crash in a Paris tunnel, and hosts elite guests from around the world who prize the refined neighborhood.


Malaysia says search for Flight MH370 to end next week

Updated 5 min 45 sec ago
0

Malaysia says search for Flight MH370 to end next week

  • Flight MH370, carrying 239 people, disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014
  • Voice 370, a group representing the relatives of those aboard the flight, had called on the new government to review all matters related to MH370

KUALA LUMPUR: A private search by a US firm for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in 2014 in one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries, will end on Tuesday, Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said on Wednesday.
Flight MH370, carrying 239 people, disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Malaysia had agreed in January to pay Houston-based Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it found the plane during a 90-day search in the southern Indian Ocean.
The hunt for the Boeing 777 was previously expected to end in June, as the 90-day agreement did not cover time taken for refueling and resupplying search vessel Seabed Constructor.
However, Ocean Infinity had finished scouring its targeted search area in April and had requested an extension until May 29, Loke said.
“This morning I raised this (request) in cabinet and we agreed to extend to May 29,” he told reporters in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital. Asked it that mean no further extensions, he said: “Yes.”
Newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had earlier said Malaysia would review and possibly end its agreement with Ocean Infinity, amid other moves to cut government spending.
Mahathir, 92, ousted the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, led by ex-premier and former protege Najib Razak, in a stunning election upset on May 9.
Loke, who was sworn in as minister on Monday, said the government would release a full report on the investigation into MH370’s disappearance after the offshore search was completed, but had not yet determined a date for the report’s release.
Voice 370, a group representing the relatives of those aboard the flight, had called on the new government to review all matters related to MH370, including “any possible falsification or elimination of records related to MH370 and its maintenance.”
“I’m not privy to whatever details that may not have been revealed, but as minister, I am committed to releasing all details to the public,” Loke said.
The decision to engage Ocean Infinity came after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200 million ($159.38 million) search across a 120,000 square-km (46,332 square miles) area in the Indian Ocean last year, despite investigators calling for the target area to be extended 25,000 square kilometers (9653 square miles) north.
The Seabed Constructor has covered 86,000 square kilometers (33,205 square miles) so far but has yet to identify any significant findings, Ocean Infinity said in its weekly search update on May 15.