French authorities recover jewels stolen from Ritz hotel

The Ritz Hotel in Paris has formerly housed famed guests such as Ernest Hemingway Coco Chanel and Princess Diana

The Ritz Hotel in Paris has formerly housed famed guests such as Ernest Hemingway Coco Chanel and Princess Diana

A group of thieves attempting to rob one of Paris' most high-end hotels appeared to have botched the heist as police reported Thursday all of the $5.4 million worth of stolen jewels and watches was found scattered at the scene and in a bag that was dropped by one of the escaping accomplices.

The gems and watches stolen were thought to be worth over €4 million.

The three arrested men, all around 30 years old, are from the Seine-Saint-Denis area north of Paris, and are "well known to the police for armed robbery, violent crime and receiving stolen goods", a source close to the inquiry said. Two accomplices waiting outside were thrown some booty and escaped by vehicle and motorbike.

The accomplices outside fled, one on a motorcycle and another in a auto - which French media reported was found burnt out in Val-d'Oise, about 30 kilometres north of Paris.

Armed heists targeting jewellery stores are not uncommon in the ultra chic avenues near Place Vendome square in central Paris, where the Ritz is located.

Another police official said some of the thieves apparently had guns.

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The hotel, opened in 1898, has been owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed since 1979. The hotel has housed such famous names as Ernest Hemingway and Coco Chanel.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb praised officers for quickly apprehending three of the robbers, saying they had "done our police force credit".

This is the latest in a string of high-profile heists in the French capital.

Security had been boosted in the area, which also houses France's justice ministry, in 2014 after several daring armed raids on Place Vendome in which jewels worth between 420,000 and two million euros were seized.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not able to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, said the pedestrian was slightly injured.

Five men held Kardashian at gunpoint in the luxury apartment where she was staying, making off with a diamond ring and other jewellery valued in total at nine million euros.

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