Man arrested in Spain over $1.76m Chopard jewel theft

Man arrested in Spain over $1.76m Chopard jewel theft

MARSEILLE, Bouches-du-Rhône - A suspect in the theft of jewellery worth US$1.4 million (S$1.76 million) during this year's Cannes Film Festival was arrested in June during a robbery on a Spanish island, sources confirming French newspaper reports said Sunday.

A 40-year-old French-Algerian man known as a notorious thief was caught in the act at a luxury hotel on the island of Mallorca on June 21 and taken into custody, Spanish police told AFP.

According to the Journal du Dimanche, the man was "formally recognised through images taken by cameras at the Novotel," the hotel in Cannes, France where the 1.4 million dollar theft occurred on May 17. The claim has not been confirmed.

"Comparisons were made" with theft from the Novotel, and the suspect was apparently "used to doing this kind of thing," said a source close to the investigation.

Chopard jewellery reportedly due to be loaned to film stars at Cannes was stolen from the hotel room of an American employee in a pre-dawn heist in May.

A strongbox containing jewels was ripped out of the wardrobe and carried off.

The jeweller redesigned the festival's Palme d'Or trophy and each year lends jewellery to stars for their walk up the red-carpeted steps at the Palais des Festivals.

French investigators would be able to interview the suspect when they received instructions from their Spanish counterparts, the source said.

Two men are being sought in connection with the Chopard jewellery theft, according to French police.

On Friday the safes of three rooms in the billionaires' resort of the Hotel de Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, east of Nice, were broken into and jewellery and other valuables estimated at 40,000 euros were stolen, the hotel's management said.

And on Wednesday, local prosecutors said two men armed with a grenade and gun burst into a Cannes store selling luxury watches and made off with 100 to 150 items, just a couple of blocks away from the Carlton hotel, the scene of a record US$136 million robbery a week ago.

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