$1 million in jewels stolen near Cannes film fest
Reporters gather outside the Novotel hotel during the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 17, 2013. A French police official says a thief or thieves stole about $1 million worth in jewelry inside a safe in a Novotel hotel room, against the backdrop of the Riviera resort town’s film festival. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
PARIS (AP) — Suspected thieves ripped out a small safe from the wall of a hotel room near the Cannes Film Festival and made off with about $1 million worth of jewelry inside, a French police official said Friday.
Cmdr. Bernard Mascarelli, a judicial police spokesman in the nearby city of Nice, said the robbery at the Novotel hotel overnight took place in the room of a representative of Swiss-based watch and jewelry maker Chopard.
The crime occurred just hours after the screening at Cannes of a film, based on a true story, about teens who broke into the homes of stars in Los Angeles to swipe designer bags, shoes and clothes from their homes.
The jewelry was "very probably" in the hotel in connection with the festival, Mascarelli said, though he didn't know who it might have been intended for. Chopard is a festival sponsor and has loaned jewelry to A-list stars who walk up the festival's famed red carpet under the rapid-fire flashes of photographers' cameras. This year model Carla Devigne and actress Julianne Moore have walked the carpet in Chopard gems.
Mascarelli said he didn't know the exact type of jewels taken or their exact value.
"Numbers have been put forward that we're still trying to verify, but the figure of $1 million ... we're in that range," he said.
Jean-Michel Caillau, the prosecutor in nearby Grasse who is leading an investigation, said early estimates were that the loot could have been worth as much as $1.4 million. He also said the theft appeared to have taken place around 2:30 a.m. Friday.
A Paris-based spokeswoman for Chopard, who declined to identify herself, said the company would not comment. Melissa Levine, a spokeswoman for Accor, the French hospitality giant behind Novotel, also declined comment. Dozens of police were involved in the investigation, and police vehicles could be seen outside the hotel Friday afternoon.
Police cars park outside a hotel during the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Friday May 17, 2013. A French police official says a thief or thieves stole about $1 million worth in jewelry inside a safe in a Novotel hotel room, against the backdrop of the Riviera resort town’s film festival. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Authorities were going over hotel surveillance cameras and questioning potential witnesses who might have seen any culprits, and "it seems pretty unlikely to us that it was just one person," Mascarelli said.
"Apparently this (hotel guest) was someone who was targeted because it wasn't someone who had been seeking attention. ... There must have been either an inside complicity, or people who were in contact with this person and knew that the person had jewels," he said.