Armed robbers struck a Bulgari store on the opulent Place Vendome in Paris and snatched jewellery worth 10 million euros ($11.84 million) on Tuesday, police in the French capital said.
Three individuals, wearing sharp suits and armed with guns, robbed the recently revamped boutique on the square in central Paris, where the Ritz hotel is located, shortly before midday.
The three fled in a car while four accomplices took flight on scooters. Forced to abandon their vehicle, the trio fled on foot before two were arrested by the chasing police.
A representative of Bulgari, which is owned by Bernard Arnault’s LVMH, could not comment immediately.
Jewellery stores in Paris have suffered a spate of armed robberies in recent months. Crime and security are likely to feature heavily among voters’ main concerns in the 2022 presidential election.
“It’s not the first time Place Vendome is targeted,” an officer at the scene who identified herself as Noura B. told reporters. “(But) these weren’t (just) pistols they were armed with. Using large guns, taking that kind of risk ... is something that happens rarely.”
In July, a Chaumet jewellery store near the Champs-Elysees was hit with almost 2 million euros ($2.4 million) worth of goods stolen, although the loot was later recovered and the suspects arrested.
That same month, robbers also struck a Dinh Van jewellery store in central Paris.
The thieves who targeted the Bulgari outlet abandoned some of their loot as they made their getaway.
One of the detained suspects was shot in the leg before being apprehended. The second was hunted down in a car park a short distance away.
The Bulgari store recently underwent extensive renovations, in which it was expanded to have an opening on Place Vendome, and outfitted with marble columns evoking its Rome origins.
The historic Place Vendome is regarded as the heart of French luxury. Labels including Chanel, Kering-owned Boucheron and Richemont’s Van Cleef & Arpels have invested considerably in their prestigious flagships lining the square.
By Sudip Kar-Gupta, Tangi Salaun, Mimosa Spencer and Manuel Ausloos; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Heinrich.
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