Skip to main content

Robber steals $53 million worth of jewels in Cannes, police say

By CNN Staff
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 0253 GMT (1053 HKT)
In 1978 gangster Jimmy "The Gent" Burke stole $8 million in cash and jewels from John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was considered the largest robbery in U.S. history at the time. Burke died in 1996 while serving 20 years to life in a New York prison when he fell ill with cancer. On January 23, five alleged mobsters were arrested on racketeering charges related to the 1978 heist. In 1978 gangster Jimmy "The Gent" Burke stole $8 million in cash and jewels from John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was considered the largest robbery in U.S. history at the time. Burke died in 1996 while serving 20 years to life in a New York prison when he fell ill with cancer. On January 23, five alleged mobsters were arrested on racketeering charges related to the 1978 heist.
HIDE CAPTION
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
Top heists around the world
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An armed robber steals $53 million worth of jewels from a hotel, police official says
  • Security was present but unarmed, deputy prosecutor says
  • There were two major jewel heists at Cannes Film Festival events this year

Paris (CNN) -- An armed robber held up a jewelry exhibition in the French resort city of Cannes on Sunday, stealing jewels worth $53 million (40 million euros), a Nice police official told CNN on the condition of anonymity.

The robbery -- the third such heist around the city since May -- took place Sunday morning at the Carlton Hotel, according to Philippe Vique, deputy prosecutor for organized crime in the prosecutor's office for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. He could not confirm the value of the jewelry.

The robber, whose face was covered by a hat and a scarf, threatened to shoot the exhibitors and guests, Vique said.

Security guards were present but unarmed, he said.

The exhibitor, Leviev Extraordinary Diamonds, confirmed the heist and said it was "relieved that no one was injured in the robbery."

$53 million in jewelry stolen
Thieves steal red-carpet jewels at Cannes
Cannes hit by another jewel heist

The gems were supposed to have been on display until the end of August.

The robbery follows two major jewel heists this year at events tied to the Cannes Film Festival.

Read more: $1 million jewels stolen during Cannes Film Festival

During the festival in May, a necklace worth $2.6 million (2 million euros) was stolen from a hotel party shortly after more than $1 million worth of jewels were stolen from a safe in a hotel room.

Jeweler de Grisogono said the necklace was part of a collection making its debut.

The jewels were from the Swiss firm Chopard, which was sponsoring the festival.

Read more: The world's biggest diamond heists

The high-profile thefts follow a brazen heist in neighboring Belgium in February. Eight masked, heavily armed men used two vehicles to burst through a hole in the perimeter fence at Brussels Airport and nabbed $50 million in rough and polished diamonds from the hold of a Zurich-bound aircraft before speeding away. More than 30 arrests have been made in that incident.

And in 2008, four armed robbers -- two disguised as women -- walked into luxury jeweler Harry Winston's store on Paris' famed Champs Elysees and swiped an estimated $111 million worth of merchandise in the span of 15 minutes. Those gems were found in 2011, hidden in a rain sewer at a house in the Parisian suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis.

CNN's Stephanie Halasz, Vladimir Duthiers and Lauren Russell contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0916 GMT (1716 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT