Terrified guests conceal in kitchen as masked men wielding axes and spears make off with valuables from display cases
Five masked men armed with axes and bayonets walked into the Ritz hotel in central Paris on Wednesday and left shortly afterwards with an estimated EUR4. 5 million worth of jewels.
French police on patrol outside the five-star hotel caught three of the raiders after tasering them as they absconded on foot. The remaining two escaped through a back entrance and prepared their getaway on a scooter.
Detectives say the men entered the Ritz on rue Cambon, near the Place Vendome, at around 6.30 pm. They reportedly crushed several spectacle windows inside the hotel with the axes and grabbed the gems, stuffing them into containers before leaving.
Witnesses said staff in the hotel’s Hemingway bar told frightened guests to get down on the storey for their safety as the raiders struck. Other guests sought refuge in the inn kitchen.
” We hear a thunderou racket and lots of racket in wall street ,” one hotel hire told AFP.” Passers-by took refuge in the hotel. We didn’t know what was going on until someone told us there had been a robbery .”
Witnesses said at the least 10 shots were fired, and hotel guests reported watching one Ritz employee injured.
However, French police said there had been no injuries. A police officer said the exact value of the jewellery steal in the heist was not aware, but was thought to be” several million euros “. Le Parisien newspaper reported that the arrest suspects were well known to police.
French writer Frederic Beigbeder was among clients drinking in the Hemingway bar at the time of the two attacks. He told journalists he took refuge in the basement.
Gerard Collomb, the French interior minister, praised the police response following the arrests.” Armed robbery at the Ritz: three of the presumed thieves already arrested by police from the 2nd arrondissement. Their talk froitd , their professionalism and their quick reactions do the police proud. I am grateful to them ,” Collomb tweeted.