By Calvin Palmer
Raids by French police this morning and yesterday have resulted in the arrest of 25 people in connection with last year’s heist at Harry Winston jewelers in Paris.
Disguised as two couples, four men – two wearing wigs – entered the exclusive store on the Avenue Montaigne, off the Champs-Elysees, on December 5. They produced handguns and forced 15 staff and customers into a corner.
Two of the gunmen ordered staff to fill sacks with precious gems and watches from the window display cases, a third ordered the manager to open the store’s hidden strong box, which contains the most expensive items. No shots were fired but several staff members were pistol-whipped.
The meticulously planned the heist took 15 minutes to complete and netted the thieves jewelry worth €80 million ($102 million).
Investigators had been watching suspects in and around Paris for months and learned yesterday that foreigners were on their way to collect some of the haul.
The suspects range in age from 22 to 67 and include some women. Police also recovered shoulder weapons, as well as €250,000 ($345,000) in cash.
Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie congratulated the police involved in the operation.
[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]