Caught in the net, another hold-up gang. Cracked finally – the case of 15 million euros of diamonds stolen from Harry Winston’s jewellers at La Croisette in Cannes.
It’s just over 13 months since the hold-up in January 2017. A young man, unmasked and sporting sunglasses, passed through the gold-fish bowl secured entrance at Harry Winston’s. The sales lady suspicious but too late. Out came the gun and a grenade. Wisely, without resisting, a 15-piece set of diamonds straight into the hands of the robber. Just eight minutes and with a haul of 15 million euros the criminal fled. The escape plan executed to plan – an accomplice with a getaway car at the ready – the car later ditched and put to blaze in Vallauris. The robber on his way to Tunis through Genoa and in the clear. And then the slip-up. False papers spotted and back in jail in Italy. Face identified on video in Cannes, the police have their man extradited and under lock and key.
The robber is the small fish in the game – in debt for drugs, pressured to carry out the dirty work for the masterminds. Enter the ace detectives (BRB) aided by the anti-gang squad (BRI). Stake-outs, electronic eaves-dropping, meticulous surveillance and bingo, July 2017 the police pounce – eight gang members intercepted under interrogation. Ducks lined-up the squad jail four. All linked, the March 2017 robbery at Cartier in Monaco and failed hold-ups in Cannes and Saint-Tropez. The modus operandi nailed with certainty – drug dependent violent hooligans pressured by the masterminds. Soon to be in the cross-hairs, the king-pins of the Harry Winston heist.
Fast forward to February 13, 2018, more meticulous detective work, five more suspects intercepted around Cannes. Then the “coup de grace” a swoop on three key players around Nice and Grasse. Bulls-eye – two of them, residents of Hauts de Vallauris under lock and key, hauled before court for masterminding the attempted hold-ups in Cannes and saint Tropez and the 15 million heist at Harry Winston’s. Also implicated a drug-dealer and a “companion” accomplice. Merit the crack anti-hold-up and anti-gang teams from BRB and BRI. Gang busted. The wheels of justice turn. Diamonds are Forever? Forever lost perhaps – still missing the loot!