Surveillance video has been released on one of the biggest jewelry heists in France’s history. Watch as the audacious thief enters the jewelry exhibition at the luxurious Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes last July. He brandishes a gun, terrifying the shopkeepers and unarmed security guards, who cower on the ground. It takes the man only 30 seconds to walk away with $143 million worth of rings, earrings and pendants.
French police are still on the hunt for this man and released the video for clues on his identity, which is still unknown. the jewels have not turned up either.
The brazen theft occurred about 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday in July at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel’s exhibition for Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” as the jewelry was about to be placed into secure display cases, deputy prosecutor Philippe Vique told ABC News.
The alleged thief entered through a glass door off Cannes’ Promenade de La Croisette, but the door was not smashed or broken, and investigators are looking at surveillance tapes to determine how he was able to open the door, Vique said.
The suspect, wearing a scarf and a hat, pulled a semi-automatic pistol, grabbed the bag of jewelry and “jumped” through another glass door that was opened and that led to the Rue Einesy, the prosecutor said. While escaping, some of the jewelry spilled out onto the street.
At the time the gunman entered the room, the exhibition’s manager, two employees and three unarmed security guards were present, Vique said.
Cannes Police Officer Maurice Alibert told ABC News that the suspect spoke “perfect French.”
“We think he is French,” Alibert said.
Vique said it would be difficult to sell the hot jewelry because each item is “incredibly expensive.”
It was the third such heist on the French Riviera in as many months.
The exhibit of jewelry was by the prestigious Leviev diamond house, owned by the London-based Russian Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. The exhibit had been scheduled to run until the end of August.
The Carlton Intercontinental dominates the Promenade de la Croisette, which stretches a mile and a half along the Mediterranean coast.
It was a movie set hotel for “To Catch a Thief,” the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock romantic thriller starring Cary Grant as a former jewel thief and Grace Kelly as an American heiress on holiday with her mother.
The Carlton itself had already been the scene of one of the biggest diamond robberies, in August 1994, when a group of thieves firing machine guns burst into the hotel’s jewelry store and made off with some $60 million in diamonds.