PARIS: A group of armed robbers snatched jewels on Saturday from a high-end shop near Paris’ world-famous Champs Elysees avenue before making their escape on motorbikes, a police source said.

The three-strong team, one of them armed with a long weapon, may have made off with several million euros in loot, based on a double robbery at the same Harry Winston jeweller’s in 2007 and 2008.

A gunshot was heard outside the shop on Avenue Montaigne, a police source familiar with the case said, with the source saying the robbery happened around 11:45am. It had been a “warning shot” with “no-one injured”, the source familiar with the case added. Paris prosecutors said an investigation was underway.

The source close to the case said it could be “several days” before the precise value of the robbery is known.

In the 2007-08 case, 900 items worth a total of 78.9 million ($86 million at today’s rates) were stolen in one of the largest such heists anywhere in the world.

A Paris court sentenced eight men in 2015 to jail terms from nine months to 15 years over the robbery. The violent scenes in central Paris come days after highly organised gunmen freed a convict from a prison convoy in northern France, killing two guards.

Locating and apprehending the fugitives is a major priority for the government as it seeks to show it is serious about public order ahead of European elections in June and the Olympic Games in July-August.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2024

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