A man turns his head to better observe a Rolls Royce. Couples take selfies. A group of tourists observe a convoy of beautiful cars. Classic scenes for a sunny Sunday on Monaco’s Place du Casino yesterday afternoon. Except that there are more policemen than usually. The day before, at around 3:40 pm on Saturday, the Cartier shop, on the square, was held-up by three individuals. The fourth was waiting for them in a car. Two robbers had weapons in their hands. A Browning 1910 and a “large caliber” weapon, according to an unnamed source on the case.
Fourth man arrested
They had abandoned, in their flight, a part of their loot. Almost all of the loot was found by Monegasque police yesterday. No information on its value is available. In all, the Monegasque and French police arrested four people. Three of the four members of the team who participated in the robbery and another individual who came to Monaco later, to transport one or more robbers away from Monaco. The fourth man who participated in the robbery was still on the run yesterday. On Saturday, the first robber was quickly arrested by Monegasque police officers. “Without resistance,” said the Monegasque prosecutor’s office. He was the one who brandished the Browning. The other two culprits and the getaway-driver, who was waiting for them, fled. Police shot at the tires, but the Renault Megane managed to leave the neighborhood and head for the expressway towards Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Arriving at the exit of the Larvotto tunnel, the criminals abandoned the car. Because it broke down? Because they thought they couldn’t leave Monaco? The investigation may determine this. According to a source close to the case, the perpetrators had tried to steal another vehicle, by threatening the driver with a handgun. Without success. They decided to set fire to the Megane. Video-surveillance images show an individual with a can of gasoline in hand. Yesterday, large burned remnants marked the wall of the tunnel where the car was burned.
The three criminals then ran away. They had prepositioned, in several strategic places, bags of clothing to change into. At 9:15 pm, Monegasque officials arrested the second man, while he was fleeing towards Roquebrune Cap-Martin. The third individual was arrested shortly after, at 9:50 pm. He was trying to hide in the bushes, in the territory of Roquebrune-Cap Martin, right next to the border. About 20 years old, he is already known to police for using firearms. A “small offender,” according to a source close to the case.
Wanted on French soil, he must be tried in France, which never extradites their nationals. He is in police custody, for an extended 24 hours, at the Nice judicial police premises, which is conducting the investigation on the French side. After hesitating, he admitted to his participation in the robbery. The fourth man was arrested by Monegasque police. According to our information, he is the brother of one of the sought-after individuals. The man came to the Principality to try to transport one or more of the criminals out of Monaco, and was arrested during a roadside check.
Searches in Vallauris
The whole team is native to Vallauris, mainly from the Hauts-de-Vallauris district (ex-Zaine). The district appeared on the investigator’s radar because of the number plates on the stolen Megane. The plate had been stolen in the same neighborhood, before being put on the car which was used by the robbers to flee the scene. A search took place in Hauts-de-Vallauris on Saturday night, at the home of one of the suspects, as part of an urgent request for international assistance. Nothing convincing came out of this search carried out by the investigators from the Urban Police of Antibes and their counterparts from the Monegasque Police Force. This information was confirmed by Alain Guimbard, deputy prosecutor of Grasse. Another search was conducted by Nice Judicial Police elsewhere in Vallauris yesterday morning. A source close to the case highlighted the robbers’ lack of experience, who chose to strike in the centre of Monaco. A well-guarded place, from which it is difficult to get out by car. Even more difficult with the heavy traffic on a rainy Saturday afternoon.