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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.
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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.
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“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.
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