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Investigation & Surveillance

Masked man strolls into Diamond Exhibition in Cannes and walks out with £35m worth of jewels.

On Sunday 28th July in broad daylight, an armed man fled the jewellery exhibition at the luxury Carlton Hotel, situated on the exclusive Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes.

The masked man apparently strolled into the exhibition threatened staff before walking out with jewels in a briefcase, making this one of the biggest heists recorded in France taking just 90 seconds.

The gems belonged to Lev Leviev a Soviet -born Israeli diamond and property mogul and have been estimated to be worth in the region of £35m but potentially could be much higher.

They consisted of gem-encrusted rings, earrings and watches which were only due to be on display until the end of August.

The display at the hotel was apparently widely advertised however Police were reportedly unaware of the exhibition.

The theft was so easy it has raised questions about how seriously the security was taken.  Security guards protecting the gems were said to be thin on the ground.

This particular area of Cannes has been plagued with high value thefts lately.  This incident is the third significant jewel theft in Cannes in just two months.

In May during the Cannes film festival pieces worth more than £660,000 by Chopard a Swiss jeweller and watchmaker were taken from a hotel room safe.

The following week a 2.6 million dollar diamond necklace belonging to another Swiss jeweller was stolen after a party at a hotel in Cap d’Antibes.

Until this week the theft in 2008 of 85m Euros worth of jewellery from Harry Winston in central Paris was the largest French heist on record.

Oddly the Carlton hotel is one of the major locations in “to catch a thief” the classic Hitchcock book about a retired jewel thief.

The Police are searching for the culprits and exploring possible links with the notorious Pink Panther organised crime gang.  Private investigators will also be keen to find the culprits to claim the substantial reward.

The gang have been targeting jewellery collections for almost 15 years, stealing up to £330 million worth from Riviera towns like Cannes.