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Cannes jewel theft adds up to $136M

| Monday, July 29, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

PARIS — Wearing a scarf to mask his face, the gunman sneaked into the posh Cannes hotel and held up a diamond show as three security guards looked on, then fled on foot about a minute later. In the end, he made off with a breathtaking $136 million worth of valuables — one of the biggest jewelry heists this century, maybe ever.

On Monday, a state prosecutor provided details about the brazen heist a day earlier at the Carlton Intercontinental hotel — not least that the loot was worth more than twice the initial $53 million estimate.

Philippe Vique, assistant prosecutor in the nearby town of Grasse, described a canny, quick and logistically simple noontime break-in.

So far, the suspect is believed to have acted alone. He wore a scarf, cap and gloves, and somehow got into the ground-floor showroom through the hotel's French doors, which open out onto a terrace — not the main entrance.

The suspect then held up the show participants with a handgun, took the valuables and fled through a side door onto a perpendicular street.

“He took a bag containing a briefcase and a small box,” Vique said. Rings, earrings and pendants were inside the bag. “He left on foot ... it was very fast.”

The holdup itself took about a minute — with three private security guards, two vendors and a show manager on hand, Vique said. No customers were present.

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