Jewelry thieves get prison time in France. Prison terms range from nine months to 15 years.
In 2007 and 2008, armed bandits, three of whom donned wigs and dresses, reportedly seized gems worth 85 million euros from Harry Winston jewelry store in Paris. With video of the 2008 robbery, the plot quickly unraveled.
While trying to sell the gems, the eight thieves were unaware that their telephones were tapped and that they were being tailed by investigators.
In June 2009, French police arrested 32 people in connection with the theft. Only a small portion of the stolen jewels was recovered, including a 31-carat diamond hidden in a drainpipe outside the home of Douadi Yahiaoui, the suspected mastermind behind the heist and another robbery targeting the same store in 2007.
On Friday night, a court in Paris handed down sentences for the eight men on trial in connection with two heists at the Harry Winston in the French capital in 2007 and 2008.
The Harry Winston trial lasted almost four weeks.
In the 2008 attack, four armed persons gained entrance to the boutique with Harry Winston’s security guard as an accomplice. The thieves enclosed the staff into a corner and demanded all of the store’s merchandise. In October 2007, the same thieves made off with more than $25M worth of Harry Winston baubles.
This security guard received a five-year sentence for his participation. Still he remained free with three years of the punishment suspended and additional time reduced due to his pretrial detention.
As of late, jewelry robberies have become a too familiar occurrence in France. Last November, two thieves robbed a Cartier store near the Champs-Elysées. These jewelry thieves exchanged gunshots with police and even held a man hostage.
Clearly the thieves have good taste. And are not into counterfeits. 😛