Paris heist: Jewels reported stolen found -- at the scene


As the men fled the scene, one of them hit and slightly injured a pedestrian.

All jewels worth millions of euros stolen from shops in Paris's landmark Ritz hotel have been recovered, a source close to the case said yesterday.

Three axe-wielding thieves carried out the brazen robbery late on Wednesday at the ultra-chic hotel on the city centre's Place Vendome, next to the Justice Ministry.

Though ultimately unsuccessful, the robbery raised questions about security in one of the world's most prestigious neighbourhoods, the Place Vendome.

French media have estimated the stolen merchandise as worth at least 4.5 million euros ($5.4 million).

The perpetrators "entered by the service entrance, 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.

Three of the group, all aged in their 30s, were arrested at the hotel, while two others are believed to have fled by vehicle and motorbike.

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The getaway auto was found abandoned 12 miles north of Paris.

The rest of the jewels and watches were found in a bag dropped by one of the two robbers who got away, another source said.

Other jewels were found scattered amid the debris of the shattered display cases during overnight cleanup efforts, the official told The Associated Press.

Unlike the action movie, three of the five thieves were quickly caught and arrested by police the same day. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb also thanked the officers, saying the capture of the three men was "a credit to our police", the BBC reported.

Patrons at the hotel's renowned Hemingway Bar described panic as the thieves entered the hushed environment of the Ritz, where rooms start at $1,200 a night.

Several high-end Paris jewellery stores have been targets of dramatic robberies in recent years, including Cartier, Harry Winston and Chopard.

The Ritz Carlton in Paris was where Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed dined on 31 August 1997, shortly before they died in a vehicle crash.