Entries in jewel thief (3)


Robber Steals $53M in Jewels at Cannes Hotel

F1Online/Thinkstock(CANNES, France) -- The Cannes, France, hotel that served as the setting for one of the most famous jewel heist movies of all time was the scene of a brazen armed robbery Sunday, when a gunman made off with an estimated $53 million in jewels and diamonds from a gem exhibition.

It was the third such heist in the French Riviera resort in as many months.

The gunman walked into the luxury Carlton hotel in broad daylight and headed for "La Cote," a room housing a temporary exhibit of jewelry by the prestigious Leviev diamond house, owned by the London-based Russian Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev that had been due to run until the end of August.

"The thief in his mid-40s entered the room of the exhibition, pulled a Colt .45 out at the employees, stuffed a bag with gems and walked out of the hotel," Cannes police told ABC News. "We do not know yet if the thief had accomplices, but we are investigating everything. It's a full scale investigation."

The Carlton hotel dominates the exclusive Promenade de la Croisette that stretches a mile and a half along the French Riviera.

It was a movie set hotel for To Catch a Thief, the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock romantic thriller starring Cary Grant as a former jewel thief and Grace Kelly as an American heiress on holiday in the Riviera with her mother.

The Carlton hotel is also where Kelly met her future husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco, for the first time -- at the prince's request -- during the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes is a popular target for a group of international jewel thieves known as the Pink Panthers, after the popular comedy crime films starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau.

The Carlton itself was already a scene of one of the biggest diamond robberies, in August 1994, when a group of thieves firing machineguns burst into the hotel's jewelry store and made off with some $60 million in diamonds.

The latest robbery comes just over two months after a safe containing more than $1 million of jewelry designed by the exclusive Swiss-based jeweler and watchmaker Chopard was taken from a Novotel hotel room during the city's film festival in May.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jewel Thief Busted After Posting Vacation Photos on Facebook

Greater Manchester Police(LONDON) -- A thief who stole over $100,000 worth of diamonds and pearls from a jeweler in Manchester, Britain, has been caught by police after he posted pictures of himself vacationing in Brazil and shopping on the streets of London.

Charles Rodriguez, 31, is a Colombian man who police believe is a member of the crime gang the Latin Kings.  In October 2011, along with another man, he allegedly beat a jeweler who had been returning from a sales trip.

The two stole the keys to his car and opened his trunk, then made off with two briefcases containing diamonds and pearls worth more than £80,000, according to Manchester City Police.

Investigators combed CCTV footage, which allegedly revealed that Rodriguez had followed the man prior to the attack.  Investigators also searched telecommunications and social media, which indicated he left the U.K. with a false passport for a vacation to Rio de Janeiro, then headed to Colombia, investigators said.

Police said his Facebook page was “littered with pictures” of his trip to Rio.

“Rodriguez’s arrogance was astonishing.  After committing an appalling attack on a jewellery trader, he fled the country to his native Colombia where he knew he could not be extradited,” Detective Sergeant Roger Smethurst said in a statement.  “However, his lack of remorse was evident by the fact he brazenly posted sightseeing pictures from Brazil -- at a time when he was on the run -- on his Facebook page.”

Though the Manchester police were aware of Rodriguez’s whereabouts, Colombia is a non-extradition country for the U.K.  Investigators had to bide their time, waiting for him to slip up.

In 2012, Rodriguez reentered the U.K. with a false passport.  He even posted photos of himself Christmas shopping and sightseeing around London.  Rodriguez was stopped by London police for driving suspiciously.  Though he faked his name, fingerprinting revealed his identity.

“Rodriguez must have thought he was above the law and untouchable because even when he finally returned to the U.K., knowing he was still wanted, he still posted pictures of himself Christmas shopping in London on his Facebook page,” Smethurst said.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to robbery at a hearing this week.  He has been ordered to serve five years and four months in jail.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


International Jewel Thief, 80, Sentenced to Five Years

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SAN DIEGO) -- International jewel thief Doris Payne, 80, was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday for her latest caper in a criminal career that stretches back more than half a century.

In court, Payne told the judge she didn't think he should "be harsh with [her]" after she was convicted of swiping a nearly $9,000 diamond ring from Macy's in San Diego on Jan. 1, 2010.

"I am truly sorry that this went on as long as it did," she said according to a report by ABC News' San Diego affiliate KGTV.

But Judge Frank Brown gave her five years, the upper end of the possible sentence.

"You won't stop," Judge Frank Brown said. "That's the problem here...She's a thief. She's charming. Santa Claus' wife, that's who she is."

Payne has been, by her own admission, a career thief and traveled the world plying her craft. She has never used a gun or lifted a finger in violence, but still slips out of jewelry stores with her loot, according to her lawyer Gretchen von Helms, who described her modus operandi to ABC News.

Dressed to the nines, she waltzes into a high-end jewelry store in Monte Carlo -- or Paris or Las Vegas -- and smiles at the clerk. She asks to try on a ring or a watch -- wait, no not that one, the other one. How about this one?

After trying on and admiring several pieces, all the while bantering with the sales clerk, she decides that, no, she won't be buying anything today. She glides out as gracefully as she came in and the clerk goes back to work.

It will be hours before the clerk realizes one of the more expensive pieces – a ring that nice old lady had tried on -- is missing.

"They're not robberies," von Helms said in January. "What she does is theft by beguilement. She goes in, she's charming, she talks to folks and leaves. She just happens to have a diamond with her." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio