Ritz robbers dropped bag of jewels

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M - French police have recovered all the jewellery stolen by armed robbers from a shop at the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris on Wednesday, BBC sources say.

"Obviously there is a security system and an alarm in this type of establishment", a police source said.

An official close to the investigation said Thursday night that all the stolen jewels have been recovered, after authorities and jewelers carefully examined the contents of the bag and debris and found everything had been accounted for. The gems and watches stolen were thought to be worth more than four million euros ($4.8 million).

Three axe-wielding thieves carried out the brazen robbery late on Wednesday at the ultra-chic hotel on the city centre's Place Vendome, next to the Justice Ministry.

Three robbers were later arrested after being blocked in the building.

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Three men have been arrested, police said, while others remain on the run.

The hotel, now owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohammed al-Fayed, first opened in 1898 and was the first Paris hotel to boast electricity on all floors and bathrooms that were inside rooms.

Place Vendome has been the scene of several daring jewellery heists in recent years, and while security has been strengthened in recent years, robbers have continued to strike.

Several luxury brands display their jewels in the storied Ritz, famous as the lodging of choice for Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway as well as Britain's Princess Diana, who spent her final hours there before dying in a vehicle crash in a Paris tunnel in 1997.

Three suspects entered the hotel through an unmarked side door, smashed display cases and threw bags of goods out a window to at least two accomplices outside, according to a police official. Two accomplices waiting outside were thrown some of the stolen goods and escaped by vehicle and motorbike.

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The other made a getaway on a motorbike, dropping a bag of jewels and knocking over a pedestrian while speeding the wrong way up a one-way street.

Police stand in rue Cambon at the back entrance of the Ritz luxury hotel in Paris on January 10, 2018, after an armed robbery.

In December, a man was able to substitute two diamonds and two rings worth 5.5 million euros in a jewellery store replacing them with fakes.

In October 2016, United States reality TV star Kim Kardashian was the target of one of the biggest heists in recent years while attending Paris Fashion Week.

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