French authorities recover jewels stolen from Ritz hotel

The Ritz Hotel in Paris has formerly housed famed guests such as Ernest Hemingway Coco Chanel and Princess Diana

Five thieves carry out the heist at the luxury hotel late in the afternoon, with three arrested and two escaping with jewellery potentially worth more than $6 million, according to police.

French police have recovered all the jewels that a gang of thieves attempted to steal from a store in the upscale Paris Ritz hotel, a source close to the investigation says.

No one was injured in the robbery, but terrified guests reported being told to "get down" as shots rang out. The three inside were then blocked when they tried to flee through another door, the official said.

The source said the whole of the loot was in the bag dropped by one of the perpetrators when his motorcycle hit a pedestrian during his escape and seized later by police.

Police managed to arrest three of the thieves at the scene but two escaped using a motorcycle and auto.

The attackers allegedly wore ski masks and used axes to smash open reinforced glass cases containing jewellery, filling numerous bags with gems.

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Armed heists targeting jewellery stores are not uncommon in the ultra chic avenues near Place Vendome square in central Paris, where the Ritz is located. The Ritz was the former home of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel and a favorite drinking spot for American writer Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway famously "liberated" the bar after arriving in Parison a tank at the end of the German Occupation in 1944.

The hotel, opened in 1898, has been owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed - father of Diana's boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed who was also killed in the crash - since 1979. It was the last place Princess Diana stayed before her fatal vehicle crash in a Paris tunnel, and hosts elite guests from around the world drawn to the neighbourhood.

Over the last few years police have kept a permanent presence in the area, but they have not deterred potential robbers.

The losses in those attacks ranged from 420,000 euros to two million euros.

Kim Kardashian West said she lost millions of dollars worth of jewellery when she was robbed at gunpoint in a Paris apartment in October 2016.

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