The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

July 31, 2013

Jewel heist on Riviera raises security questions

PARIS — The diamond show was staged on the ground floor of a hotel that thieves had targeted before — and which, in fact, had featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s high-karat classic “To Catch a Thief.” The guards were few and unarmed, and nobody thought to tell the police about the tens of millions of dollars worth of gems on display for more than a month.

On Tuesday, questions arose about how the collection was left so vulnerable that a single thief with a handgun managed to make off over the weekend with one of the biggest hauls in history — a total of $136 million in jewels — without firing a shot.

It was the second time in a week that unarmed guards were overwhelmed by jewel thieves. At a Swiss prison near the French border, a member of the notorious “Pink Panther” gang escaped after accomplices rammed a gate and overpowered unarmed guards with bursts from Kalashnikovs.

Private security guards are generally prohibited from carrying weapons in France and Switzerland — that’s reserved for police — but special authorizations can be granted when high-value assets are at stake.

“It can’t be standard procedure when you have that kind of value. This is an extraordinary amount of value to have in one place from one company,” said John Kennedy, president of the New York-based Jewelers Security Alliance. In the United States “those shows are limited to the trade. You have to have an ID and have a pass. It’s not open to the public.”

With the measures in place, he said, it was nearly irrelevant whether the heist at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes was an inside job.

“What do you need with an inside job when a guy can walk in and do this? What inside information do you need — there’s a big diamond show,” he said. Cannes’ storied history of jewel heists apparently made little difference to those planning the show, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal to improve health care costs $17B

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FedEx charges raising online pharmacy issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — FedEx Corp., the latest company accused in a federal probe involving illegal online pharmacies, says it will fight the charges that it knowingly shipped drugs to people who lack valid prescriptions....

    July 27, 2014

  • EU, U.S. seek to curb Putin’s Ukraine course

    BRUSSELS — Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe and the United States are still searching for a way to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to change course....

    July 27, 2014

  • Fighting intense near crash

    DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month....

    July 27, 2014

  • Gaza war rages despite truce pledges

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas fires rockets on Israel, ending 12-hour lull

    BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Hamas said it fired five rockets at Israel late Saturday after rejecting Israel’s offer to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by four hours, casting new doubt on international efforts to broker an end to 19 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Death shows Ebola can spread through air travel

    ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people. The fact ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Police ID kids killed in Philly carjacking crash

    PHILADELPHIA — Two carjackers who fled after ramming a stolen SUV into a family selling fruit for their church, killing three young siblings, were still on the run Saturday as the reward for their capture topped $100,000. The children’s ...

    July 27, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border

    KIEV, Ukraine — Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the ...

    July 26, 2014