Paris authorities have recovered all the jewels stolen from the Ritz Hotel in a dramatic heist, but they are still searching for two thieves who got away, officials say. Three perpetrators "entered by the service entrance, smashed the jewelry stands, grabbed jewels that were clearly expensive with the help of axes," says Jean-Michel Huguet of police union Alliance Police Nationale. They seized watches from display cases holding wares ranging from Rolex and Piaget, and then targeted the Alexandre Reza jewelry boutique inside the hotel. The suspects inside threw bags of goods out of a window to at least two accomplices outside, a police official tells the AP.
The three inside were then blocked when they tried to flee through another door, and quickly arrested, the official says. The accomplices outside fled, one on a motorcycle and another in a car. The motorcyclist dropped a bag with jewels and hatchets when his motorcycle hit a pedestrian during his escape. The pedestrian was slightly injured. An official close to the investigation says all the stolen jewels were recovered from the bag and the debris of shattered display cases. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the robbery on Wednesday evening raised questions about security in one of the world's most prestigious neighborhoods, the Place Vendome. Its well-guarded buildings include the Justice Ministry, high-end boutiques, and the 19th-century Ritz.