Home / BBC News / Axe-wielding robbers storm Ritz-Carlton hotel in Paris…make off with £3.5million of jewellery

Axe-wielding robbers storm Ritz-Carlton hotel in Paris…make off with £3.5million of jewellery

Police are currently hunting the rest of the gang who managed to escape. Shots were heard as at least five raiders rushed into the five-star ‘palace’ brandishing weapons, as panicked staff and guests were told to lie on the floor.

‘The attackers then used axes to smash open reinforced glass cases containing jewellery, while filling bags,’ said a source at the world famous hotel, which is in Place Vendome (Vendome Square).

‘As they tried to get away, police officers arrived, and three of the robbers were pulled to the ground and then arrested.

‘Two others got out the back door of the hotel, and were seen running away, and then getting on mopeds.’

It was at around 6.30pm that guests drinking in the Hemingway Bar, at the back of the hotel, first heard the commotion.

‘Bar staff told everybody to remain calm, and not to do anything stupid. Some clients were ushered down into the basement for safety. Shots from what sounded like a handgun were heard at one point.

‘There were initial fears that a terrorist attack was going on, but it soon became clear that it was a robbery.

‘Two others got out the back door of the hotel, and were seen running away, and then getting on mopeds.’

Police sources estimated the value of the robbers’ haul as being worth ‘at least’ the equivalent of £4million.

Axe-wielding robbers storm Ritz-Carlton hotel in Paris...make off with ?3.5million of jewellery

The glass containers were all in a corridor leading towards the Hemingway bar.

Security at the Ritz was reinforced in 2014 after a series of daylight robberies on jewellery shops in the Place Vendome.

Paris Ritz hotel history

The Ritz was founded by Swiss hotelier César Ritz in 1898 and has been a focus of high society ever since.

Diana, Princess of Wales, dined in the hotel’s Imperial Suite shortly before her death in a car crash in August 1997.

Its retail gallery boasts several jewellers’ as well as designer goods shops.

A superior room costs from £885 a night, while a ‘grand deluxe’ room starts at £1,240.

The hotel is next door to France’s Justice Ministry, where soldiers stand guard 24 hours a day.

The Ritz, which re-opened in 2016 after a four-year refurbishment, and is owned by the Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed.

Paris is notorious for high-end armed robberies, with many taking place around five-star palace hotels such as the Ritz.

The Ritz was founded by Swiss hotelier César Ritz in 1898 and has been a focus of high society ever since.

Diana, Princess of Wales, dined in the hotel’s Imperial Suite shortly before her death in a car crash in August 1997.

Its retail gallery boasts several jewellers’ as well as designer goods shops.

A superior room costs from £885 a night, while a ‘grand deluxe’ room starts at £1,240.

The Paris prefecture launched an immediate investigation.

Among those caught up in the drama at the Ritz was the celebrated French writer Frederic Beigbeder, 52.

The author, who wrote the prize-winning Windows on the World, was enjoying a drink in the Hemingway Bar when he heard shots.

He was one of those who took refuge in the basement of the hotel, emerging when the gunfire had stopped.

The bar is named after the American writer Ernest Hemingway, who used to drink there with friends including Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald and the actor Gary Cooper.

Hemingway famously ‘liberated’ the bar after arriving in Paris on a tank at the end of the German Occupation in 1944.

Source: UK Daily Mail…

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