Suspect Questioned in Connection With Cannes Film Fest Jewel Heist
PARIS -- As jewel theft cases pile up in Cannes, at least one suspect has been brought into custody.
An unnamed French-Algerian man, 40, is believed to have been involved in the robbery of $1.4 million worth of Chopard jewelry during the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The suspect was arrested for a robbery at a luxury hotel in the resort town of Cala Ratjada in Mallorca on June 21. During the Cannes festival, the room of a Chopard employee staying at the hotel Novotel was broken into and a safe was removed from the wall and carried away with the company jewels valued at $1.4 million inside. After the Spanish arrest, police compared the similarities in the Mallorcan break-in to the Cannes case and identified the man through CCTV security camera footage from the Novotel.
He is currently in court custody without bail after being charged with several robberies at hotels in Cala Ratjada in northeastern Mallorca. Police said he had stolen jewelry worth around $65,000 (€50,000) and around $8,000 (€6,000) in cash.
French police have asked Spanish authorities for permission to travel to Mallorca to question the suspect about the Cannes robbery.
Meanwhile, Lloyd's of London, the insurance company behind the Dubai-based Leviev jewelry show at the historic Carlton Hotel in Cannes, which fell victim to a stunning $136 million jewel heist in late July, announced a $1.3 million (€1 million) reward for valuable information leading to an arrest.
Such a move is rare but not unheard of in France, where the offer of a reward will have to be approved by the judge that is overseeing the case. Any informant is guaranteed anonymity according to French law.
"It is better that it is overseen by the court to avoid scammers who offer their services directly to insurance companies and victims. This happens frequently," a police source told local newspaper Nice Matin. Police are now sorting through tips that are "sometimes very fanciful" -- including a local psychic claiming to have mental contact with the thief -- that are coming in from all over the world after the record-breaking heist made headlines across the globe.
On a local level, police are taking immediate steps to increase their presence on the Croisette. Police, regional government and representatives are working together to create a committee to assess the security situation in the seaside town. The first meeting is scheduled for this Thursday.