The Carleton Intercontinental Hotel, located on the French Riviera in Cannes, has been playing host to a summer jewelry exhibit for Leviev Diamond House, owned by billionaire Lev Leviev of Israel. An armed robber stole
$53 $136 million worth of jewels in broad daylight from the show.
Authorities say that the Leviev Cannes heist was pulled off by a lone thief who loaded a suitcase with the jewelry and quickly left the building around noon. Ironically, but possibly not related, members of the “Pink Panther Gang,” a well-known group of jewelry thieves, had recently escaped from jail. This is the third major jewel theft in Cannes this year.
It is believed that it will be extremely difficult to recover the stolen jewels, which were supposed to be on display in the hotel until the end of August. Since so many were stolen, they can very easily be divided up and smuggled then quickly sold, making it near impossible to retrieve every single gem.
The 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film “To Catch a Thief” took place at the Carlton. Then the comedy “La Bonne Annee” was also about a theft from a jewelry store located on La Boulevard la Croisette, the same street that is considered the main thoroughfare through the Carlton’s resort property.
In February of this year, $50 million in diamonds were stolen in Belgium. In 2008, armed robbers stole $100 million in Harry Winston jewelry from their store in Paris. That same year, thieves entered a jewelry store in Milan through a tunnel and stole $20 million worth of jewelry. Each of these robberies occurred during the daytime.
People aiming to steal tend to go to places such as Cannes because of the stereotypical affluence of the French town which is home to the famous film festival. When large groups of people come to Cannes, it is usually celebrities, who bring with them some of their most extravagant and expensive jewelry.
Neither Lev Leviev or the Leviev Diamond House have made any comments about the crime.