Robbers in drag steal $100M in jewel heist

15:42, 05 December 2008
World
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 Between 10 and 15 people...

Armed robbers -- some dressed as women -- have stolen an estimated ?80 million ($102m) in jewels during a brazen raid at a central Paris store, police say, according to CNN.

 Police told The Associated Press three or four thieves swiped rings, necklaces and luxury watches from display cases at the Harry Winston store near the Champs-Elysees.

The store is also just around the corner from a police station.

Police said at least two of the thieves were men dressed as women, they spoke a foreign language and knew the employees` names.

Between 10 and 15 people and staff were in the store when the robbers entered late Thursday afternoon.

CNN`s Jim Bittermann said staff first thought they were clients. However, the robbers then drew their guns.

He said the robbers directed staff to empty jewels from secret hiding places and the safe.

 They overturned display cases and emptied the shop of nearly all its stock.

The store is situated on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne and was robbed little more than a year ago.

That time up to five thieves stole an estimated ?20 million ($25 million) worth of jewelry. The cheapest piece they took was worth ?2,000 ($2,500) and the most expensive ?3.2 million ($4 million).

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They overwhelmed staff as they arrived for work and calmly asked them to open the safe.

Last year`s raid was considered the largest jewel theft in France for a long time, the September 2004 theft of two diamonds worth an estimated ?14.5 million ($18.5 million) from a Paris antique fair coming closest.

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