Collection of nineteen rings and three sets of earrings were stolen during a 2008 heist from Harry Winston boutique
guardian.co.uk, Associated Press, Wednesday 9 March 2011
|The Harry Winston boutique in Paris. The recently discovered jewels were|
stolen from the shop during a 2008 heist. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP
French investigators have found jewels valued at £15.4m hidden in a Paris sewer.
The items were stolen during a 2008 heist from luxury jeweller Harry Winston's boutique in the capital.
Nineteen rings and three sets of earrings, including one pair valued at £14m, were dug up from a drain at a house in the working-class suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, according to police. The house belonged to one of the nine people charged over the robbery. The jewels were hidden in a plastic container set in a cement mold inside the sewer.
The robbery netted the thieves, some of whom were dressed as women, bejewelled watches worth about £61m.
The Harry Winston boutique is on a street off Paris' Champs-Elysées Avenue, which is dotted with fashion houses and cafes. The theft, carried out while Christmas shoppers strolled outside, is considered one of the country's most audacious robberies in recent memory.
Some of the stolen rings, necklaces and watches were recovered when police arrested 25 people during a sweep in June 2009 and charged nine of them.
Among those charged was the suspected mastermind, who had previously been sentenced to 15 years in prison in a drug trafficking case. Police found stolen jewellery and £650,000 at this house.
A guard at the Harry Winston boutique put police on the trail of the suspects. When investigators learned that an Israeli man was arriving in Paris to buy some of the stolen jewels, police moved in to make the arrests.