PARIS - Two-hour drama in failed Paris jewellery heist
Two men armed with an AK-47 assault rifle robbed a Cartier jewellery store near Paris' Champs Elysees, leading to a police chase and a hostage-taking after they sought refuge in a hair salon.
The suspects agreed to release the hostage and turn themselves in, with the entire drama lasting about two hours.
The police recovered a cache of jewels the men had stolen.
A witness inside the Cartier store in the busy tourist area said the two men burst in late in the day and forced the three customers inside and about 10 employees to lie down.
They demanded that the showcases be opened and started gathering the jewellery, but were interrupted by the sound of police sirens.
They fled with the store manager.
A witness told AFP that one of the thieves was in a trench coat and a beret, with a towel on one hand, and was holding the hostage with the other.
"Everyone tried to hide," said the witness, who had been at a nearby restaurant's terrace.
The two men left their hostage and fled on a scooter while shooting into the air, but they reportedly fell off and tried to run away on foot before entering the hair salon.
The salon manager was the only person inside and was taken hostage.
Around 100 police were mobilised. A helicoter was also called in for support.
"A negotiator was able to quickly enter into contact with them," said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
"They agreed somewhat quickly to free the hostage safe and sound and they turned themselves in."
Besides the AK-47, they also had a 9mm pistol.
The stolen jewellery was recovered inside the hair salon, the report said.
"There were lots of money and jewellery that had been well chosen," the prosecutor said.
A police officer was lightly wounded by a bullet fragment, while one of the suspects was injured in the scooter fall.
This article was first published on November 27, 2014.
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