Cannes: Top European Distributor Execs Burglarized
"It seems they took all the police to guard the Palais against terrorism and left none for the rest of the city."
A veteran European distributor had its headquarters in Cannes burgled on Saturday in a brazen crime apparently involving a professional gang of robbers.
Sometime between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when no one was home, a group of people broke into a rented house in Cannes being used as a base by A Company, a film licenser that specializes in acquiring movies for Central and Eastern Europe.
According to A Company boss Alexander van Dulmen, the thieves, who apparently jumped the wall surrounding the house and forced their way through the garden door, made off with 25,000 to 30,000 euros' ($28,000 to $35,000) worth of money, equipment and jewelry, including a pricey watch.
"They took every laptop, every tablet, cash and even our passports," van Dulmen tells The Hollywood Reporter. "They flipped all the mattresses looking for cash, went through the inside pocket of every piece of clothing. It was very professional, couldn’t have taken them more than one to two minutes."
The burglary took place amid the most intense and visible security measures ever seen in Cannes, with heavily armed military police patrolling the Croisette and cops stationed on every corner.
"It seems they took all the police to guard the Palais against terrorism and left none for the rest of the city," says van Dulmen, noting that the local police's response to the burglary was a shrug. "They said, 'It’s the Cannes Film Festival. What do you expect?'"
Cannes long has been a crime hotspot. There were two high-profile jewel thefts during the 2013 festival. A necklace worth $2.6 million was lifted from the Hotel du Cap, and a safe containing $1 million in jewelry was ripped from a wall in the Novotel.
Shortly after the fest that year, a man in a motorcycle helmet with an automatic pistol walked into a room at the Carlton Hotel and boosted $150 million in jewelry and watches belonging to Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, the largest theft of jewels in French history.
Even ahead of this year’s event, a source tells THR that a memo from a private security outlet was sent to companies attending Cannes warning that "your greatest risk remains theft of personal property to pickpockets or hotel thieves, or injury due to traffic accidents."
Cannes police say they are investigating the incident.