A suit-wearing robber armed with a handgun has stolen £2million in precious gems from a high-class French jeweller – before escaping on an e-scooter.
The hit took place around 5pm Tuesday in Paris’s Place Vendome, a short walk from the Louvre, when a grey-haired man believed to be in his 50s or 60s walked into the famous Chaumet jewellers, asked to see valuable items, then pulled out a gun.
Staff handed over jewellery estimated to be worth between £2million and £3million before the thief fled on an e-scooter, with security unable to catch him.
CCTV cameras captured the astonishing getaway.
An armed robber who used an e-scooter to steal more than £2million worth of jewellery from flagship Chaumet store in Paris was caught on camera. Images of the man – who was wearing a blue sanitary mask and a grey suit – were posted on Wednesday
‘He arrived on an e-scooter with a gun, went in to the Chaumet store in Rue Francois I to threaten staff, and came out with a collection of jewels and watches,’ said an investigating source.
‘Nobody was hurt in the raid, and he simply disappeared on his scooter, with no-one able to catch him,’ the source added.
CCTV also captured the moment the man arrived at the store, with staff helping him through bullet-proof glass doors before bringing out fine jewellery for him to view.
Cameras then show how he pulled out an automatic pistol and demanded staff hand over the items, before fleeing.
‘He also told staff that he had planted a bomb and it would go off if they told police,’ said the source.
‘Then he demanded the keys to the shop, and locked everyone inside when he left.
‘This gave him plenty of time to get back on his e-scooter and disappear in the direction of a Metro station on the Champs-Élysées, where he took a train.’
The man was described as being ‘well built, grey-haired and in his 50s or 60s’.
A source at Chaumet later estimated the value of the loss at between ‘two and three million euros’.
A source at Chaumont, which was founded as a jewellers and watchmakers in 1780 and which now has stores all over the world, later estimated the value of the loss at between ‘two and three million euros’
Chaumet was founded in 1780 by jeweller Marie-Étienne Nitot, a former apprentice of Ange-Joseph Aubert, goldsmith to Marie Antionette.
Leveraging his connections among royalty to get his start, Nitot’s business really took off following the French Revolution in 1789 which saw the aristocrats deposed.
Nitot became official jeweller to Napoleon after he became emperor in 1802, designing and setting his coronation crown, the pommel of his sabre, and other pieces used by the royal court.
Alongside his son, Francois Regnault, Nitot also created jewellery for Napoleon’s wedding to Joséphine de Beauharnais and Marie Louise de Habsburg-Lorraine.
After Napoleon was exiled, control of the jewellery house passed to Jean Baptiste Fossin who counted Louis-Philippe, King of France from 1830 to 1848, as well as the Duchesse de Berry among his clients.
A boutique workshop linked to the French jeweller was subsequently established by Jean-Valentin Morel in London, who was granted a royal warrant by Queen Victoria, who patronised the shop.
A spokesman for Paris prosecutors said: ‘An investigation into robbery has been opened,’ with the city’s Criminal Brigade leading the enquiry
Joseph Chaumet, after whom the modern-day jeweller is named, married into the Morel family before eventually taking over the business – moving the shop to Place Vendome, where it continues to stand today.
Driven to near-bankruptcy in the 1990s by Chaumet’s grandsons Jacques and Pierre, the business was sold and today is owned by LVMH – a conglomerate of high-end fashion stores that is Europe’s most-valuable company, with a worth of £240billion.
A spokesman for Paris prosecutors said: ‘An investigation into robbery has been opened,’ with the city’s Criminal Brigade leading the enquiry.
The Chaumet store in the nearby Place Vendome was robbed in 2009, with the loss then valued at some £1.6million.
Chaumet, which is now owned by luxury goods multinational LVMH, had no initial official comment to make.
E-scooters, which are becoming increasingly popular in major cities and towns globally, including in the UK, have been linked with a series of crimes in Paris.
These range from alleged manslaughter – an Italian woman was knocked over and killed in a collision with one last month – as well as street attacks and thefts.