French authorities have recovered all the loot stolen by a group of thieves in a brazen robbery of the Ritz hotel in Paris. The police still hunt for two suspects who managed to flee the scene as three were left behind.
Paris police have retrieved all of the valuables stolen from the Paris Ritz on Thursday, a day after a team of robbers, armed with hatchets and handguns, broke into the luxurious hotel.
Three masked robbers entered the hotel through the staff entrance about 6:30 p.m. and approached the jewelry stores and display cases on the top floor.
Once there, they "smashed the jewelry stands, grabbed jewels that were clearly expensive with the help of axes," said Jean-Michel Huguet of police union Alliance Police Nationale.
The robbers also took watches from Rolex and Piaget display cases, putting a total value of the loot to around €4 million ($4.8 million). The three then threw a bag containing the stolen valuables through a window to at least two accomplices outside the hotel.
However, the robbers inside the hotel ran into a locked door as they were trying to make their getaway, leaving them stranded on the scene. The remaining two members of the group left the area, one in a car and the other, carrying the loot bag, on a motorcycle.
Robbers "well-known to the police"
A police patrol quickly arrived to the scene, arresting the three men. The other two remain on the run.
While making his escape, the man with on the motorcycle hit a pedestrian as he was speeding the wrong way up a one way street. The collision caused the robber to drop the bag which was soon recovered by the authorities.
The would-be getaway car was found abandoned north of Paris.
All three of the detained suspects were found to be around 30 years old and based in the Seine-Saint-Denis area north of Paris. All of them are also "well known to the police for armed robbery, violent crime and receiving stolen goods", a source close to the inquiry told the AFP news agency.
Cleanup teams also found some of the jewels at the scene, with an official close to the investigation claiming all of the missing items were now accounted for.
The Ritz hotel is located on the high-end Place Vendome square, the home to several luxury stores and the French justice ministry. The area has been hit by several brazen robberies in recent years.
dj/xx (AFP, AP)